Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Paper work sucks

Once again I managed to stay M.I.A. for sometime.

Getting involved in the NGO world is not always what one might perceive it to be. Unfortunately, there is a lot of catching up to do before getting thrown into the field. It's funny that I always thought that field work was not something I was meant to ever do. Some part of me still agrees with that, but the majority of me is very content.

Officially, I have only made a couple trips up north -- one with a donor and one to do distribution monitoring in Bagh.

Since many of you may still not know what exactly it is that I do, I am a project manager for two earthquake related projects, being implemented in Bagh, Mansehra and Battagram.

One project, with CARE International, is just distribution of emergency relief provisions to some 2000 identified households in Battagram, Mansehra and Bagh. This is just giving them preassembled CARE packages of basic household needs (including tents) to get people on their feet with rebuilding their lives.

The other, the bigger one, is a housing project for people in the same districts (in NWFP and AJK). We have yet to commence that as the project was recently approved. This one is with Department for International Development.

The last couple of weeks have been spent mainly catching up with whats going on, getting information and being buried in tons of paperwork and contractual agreements, etc.

This is definately a great start to a wonderful and very rewarding career. I hope that things materialize faster for the needy than they are right now because, well...we don't want there to be no one left to save by snowfall...that would be very upsetting and careless.

I will be rather infrequent about my posts for some time, at least until I get my shit together because work between the office and the field keeps me away from luxury and citizen reporting very often.


Wednesday, November 16, 2005


Just to let you know that I am still alive. The projects are really quite something, if they work the way they have been proposed. I am looking forward to getting into them head on. It's quite exciting that I will be responsible for the management of these projects.

I will be traveling to Bagh tomorrow for the day, Mansehra for the day on Friday and then to Mansehra and Allai on Monday for the night.

good times...!

Friday, November 11, 2005

New Contact Info

I would like to inform everyone that my career path has taken a tremendous change. I will be commencing work with an NGO, RSPN, to do relief work in the North. I will be managing the Relief & Rehab project for 6 months in NWFP and AJK.

My new contact info (cell number) is posted above. Please take note of it.

Thanks and welcome to the world of sustainable development?

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Out with the Private, In with the NGO

I am officially now out of the private employment service. Because of the impact this quake has had on me, and the circumstances otherwise, I have decided to avail an opportunity to work with an NGO, heading a project for Relief and Rehabilitation in NWFP and AJK.

I gave in my resignation today and will be starting work with the NGO (RSPN) on Monday Nov 14.

I will now be officially doing whatever I have done and what I will continue to do so. I hope that I can do a good job helping people regain their lives, rekindle the sparkle of life in their eyes and give them a promise that our generation will not fail Kashmir. When we say we want what is best for Kashmir, we will mean it for the people, not the land.

I know there will be difficulties and obstacles, but without them you cannot appreciate the achievements and milestones during this time of need.

Tuesday, November 8, 2005

Balakot n back

Just returned from an overnight trip to Balakot yesterday. Here are the updates:

1. U.A.E. military and medical team have an enormous setup just a kilometer short of Balakot
2. Camps, camps and more camps setup all along Balakot, just up to the main bridge
3. Quakes & Tremors are still popping in for the occasional visit

New Pictures available in Flikr Album >> scroll below to see them on the right

The morning we woke up, there was a tremendous quake at about 7 am (November 6, 2005) and it really shook up everyone. I was on the phone with someone who was in Balakot while i was at the SRSP office in Mansehra and we both felt it pretty bad. My travelmate was occupied at a very awkward moment when the shakes came and he was worried about not being allowed in to heaven because angels wouldn't touch him in the state he was in. I was outside the building (atop a small hill) when it happened and i was worried about the roof caving in on him while i was outside enjoying the cool morning breeze.

Anyway, things have changed a lot. I learned that about 75% of the Balakot population has perished completely. What remains is, well, rubble and bruises with some broken bones. I went all the way to the end of Balakot this time and saw what used to be a 5 story hotel, leveled with the river below.

Winter is setting in and the effects are visible, especially at night. Day time is still quite warm though.

Get those donations and volunteers to pour in!

Thursday, November 3, 2005

Eid Mubarak

In the midst of the dust, we should not forget that today the moon has shown itself and that marks the end of the Holy month of Ramzan for the entire Muslim world (give or take a day or two) so I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of my readers and those who have really broken their backs trying to help Pakistan get back on its feet.


Spread the word! Campaigns will keep this cause alive

Hey ya'll!

It seems that the media is now beginning to focus on other global matters and that is utterly important. However, the media does have the power of informing the world on a larger scale, that which we as citizen reporters cannot, and that is Television - one in every household (ideally).

The fact is that there are still plenty of rocks unturned and we may not have even found half the dead yet so we don't know if 70,000+ is even remotely the closest number to the already dead. The issue at hand is also that we have around 3,000,000 homeless people right now and many of them are suffering from cold, disease, hunger, sorrow / misery (for loss of loved ones and belongings), greed, displacement and so forth.

We, as the people, must constantly reinvent methods and ways of carrying on this cause to help alleviate these people, hopefully on a permanent level. Take the tsunami for example, I have not heard a little bit on it for months now and I am quite sure that the damage is still no where near cleaned up and bodies still remain lost or unidentified. That damage was immense, but the media has forgotten about it. As unfortunate as it is, unless we can string our efforts on a combined basis to promote the same awareness for the sake of
humanity then we have much at stake. People always tell me how happy they are to see how moved the youth of Pakistan is about quake relief work and how they are glad that we are so dedicated and involved. The youth has financial limits along with family concerns. Parents don't like their children to be too involved because of the fear of disease, clashes with victims, exhaustion and many other issues.

I would like to invite you to help promote a campaign

- BeGivingBeHuman -

I would like to create awareness amongst the people of the global community to remember that this is still an issue at hand and we need continual help. I am getting some wristbands made that will have SHAKETHEQUAKE printed on them. If anyone is interested in helping promote, bring to light or to pass on the word about this, please let me know. I don't want to bomb people with spam emails or harass. I want to make information available to people discreetly, yet obviously so they are not bothered by it but notice it - like the candy on the cashier counter at a gas station.

Tuesday, November 1, 2005

Highest Donor

I would like to take a moment to thank my good friend ****, who has just donated $1000 US (One Thousand Dollars) to the Earthquake Relief Effort. **** and I became friends at **** University and when he found out about the earthquake, he promptly called me from the US to find out how I am and now my family is. I think that the trust we developed over those years allowed for him to believe that providing the money to our effort was the most appropriate as he had the choices of larger, more established organizations such as ICRC, CARE, UNICEF, UNHCR, RELIEF and others to donate to.

Thanks ****, you the man! Your money is going to not only help boost our effort, but also provide for more people than we hoped.

Google Earth Dynamic overlay for Pakistan

Thanks to Anne Wright & Randy Sargent from the Global Connection team who have been working on the GEarth overlay of affected areas & sent us more good news via email:

A Pakistan dynamic overlay containing 1-meter imagery and maps for
* Muzaffarabad
* Abbottabad
* Mansehra
* Murree

is available at

* 10 maps from DLR / Space Imaging, available from

The dynamic overlay is now public!
(Please fee free to redistribute the overlay and images)

Source: QuakeHelp

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