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October 18, 2005 > Tri-City Pak-Americans spring into action to help quake victims

Tri-City Pak-Americans spring into action to help quake victims

by Hazem Kira

An emergency meeting called by the Pakistan American Democratic Forum (PADF), a US-wide grassroots organization, held meetings on Oct. 11 and at the Chandni Restaurant in Fremont in response to the recent earthquake in Pakistan.

It was indeed impressive to see how quickly a shocked and grieved community trying to picture the full and lasting impact of the disaster, and still waiting to get news about the loved ones, was able to shed its grief and get to work.

The PADF meeting ended with the adoption of a two-point agenda: Assembling a group of activists who are willing to commit themselves for at least one year to work for the relief effort in Pakistan, and keeping the Pakistani-American community involved by not letting them forget about the aftermath of this disaster.

"We will not duplicate the work of any existing Pakistani or Pakistani-Americans organization," organizers of the PADF emergency meeting said. The PADF meeting started with an overall assessment of the situation in Pakistan. It was also stated the PADF will not get involved with the collection or distribution of relief resources but it will facilitate this process to support bona fide Pakistani and Pakistani-American relief organizations.

Realizing that it is the biggest natural disaster in the history of Pakistan whereby "Kashmir has turned into a graveyard," and reflecting on the words of Prime Minister of Azad Kashmir that "for the first two days we have been either digging ground to recover bodies or digging to bury them," all activists vowed to remain involved with the relief effort for at least a year.

Several committees were formed including, Information Development to research and qualify bona fide relief organizations, Resource Development for negotiating with pharmaceutical companies to obtain free or reduced fee medicine and Logistics Coordination to focus on connecting major US donors with Pakistani Government agencies and NGOs.

The PADF new website www.VoiceofPakistan.Net is dedicated exclusively to earthquake relief efforts, and has initiated a new e-group - for activists who seek to coordinate their relief efforts, and will soon install a hotline to help find information for groups in Pakistan and the United States. If you are interested in working on a committee, please call (510) 252-9858.

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