Friday, January 20, 2006

In the News

Some articles about my involvement in relief efforts

Cyberspace comes to aid of Kashmir quake survivors

13:44 30 Nov 2005
Repeats story first sent on Nov 30.

NEW DELHI, Nov 30 (Reuters) - As Pakistan and India were still floundering to respond in the early hours after the Kashmir quake, a convoy laden with supplies snaked its way along the debris-cluttered road to one of the worst-hit areas in Pakistan.

The mission of mercy began with a simple SMS in Islamabad.

The armies and emergency services of India and Pakistan were caught largely off guard by the Oct. 8 quake that killed more than 73,000 and made millions homeless, but new technology is allowing ordinary people to step in and help in a major way.

"The authorities appear to have been very inefficient and poor with their response and efforts," said Zohare Haider, a project coordinator at Nortel in Islamabad who helped organise that early convoy and has been arranging more support since through his Web log, or blog, SHAKETHEQUAKE (

"The Sunday after the quake, a friend sent an SMS saying we should get together and help out," wrote Haider, replying to an Internet message. ""We all met at his house ... and that's when things just went out of control."

Haider has now quit Nortel to work for a relief agency.

Within hours, the group had scraped together 12 truckloads of food, blankets, medicine and supplies and about 1.7 million Pakistani rupees ($28,000) and were on their way to Balakot in Pakistan's North West Frontier Province.


Spurred by the success of blogs on the Indian Ocean tsunami and Hurricane Katrina, bloggers have opened up new sites to raise and channel donations, coordinate efforts on the ground and match volunteers and donors with aid groups and projects.

SMS, or text messaging, has also been used for everything from coordinating aid to letting people in the United States make donations a few cents at a time and have it added to their monthly cellphone bill.

Blogs such as Quakehelp ( have had tens of thousands of hits, many in the early days of the Kashmir disaster. Postings range from NGOs calling for volunteers and doctors to discussions on the best material for winter shelters and appeals for more supplies.

Contributors include aid groups and ordinary Net surfers. Because they act in a way like community noticeboards, putting people in touch with each other, bloggers say they have no way of knowing how much aid they raise.

It is not the first time blogs have helped in the wake of a major disaster. They were prominent after the tsunami and Hurricane Katrina. Many of those behind Kashmir quake blogs also blogged the tsunami, Katrina and Hurricane Rita.

Mumbai-based writer Peter Griffin, one of a loose group from around the world that set up Quakehelp, said their Katrina blog drew more than a million hits a day at its peak.

"I'd put that down to the much higher Internet access in the USA," he said.

The sensitivities involved in Indian and Pakistani Kashmir, where both armies are faced off over a ceasefire line, have made aid work harder, bloggers say.

"The information hasn't been easy to find," said Griffin. "It's a sensitive area politically and a remote, almost hostile land."

Quake survivors in Indian and Pakistani Kashmir complain official aid was slow to reach them in the critical early days and some say their armies were too slow to respond.

But the armies were also hopelessly short of resources for dealing with a disaster on such a colossal scale, as well as being badly hit by casualties themselves, and have been praised by aid agencies for the way they have built up their efforts.

($1 = 59.8 Pakistani rupees)

((SOUTHASIA-QUAKE-BLOGS; Editing by Simon Denyer and Sanjeev Miglani; Reuters Messaging: Wednesday, 30 November 2005 13:44:31RTRS [nDEL75887 ] {C}ENDS

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Friday, January 13, 2006

Emergency Appeal


This is an emergency appeal for donations towards the purchase of Corrugated Galvanized Iron Sheets, commonly known as CGI sheets. These are metal sheets used as roofs in the earthquake affected areas.

If you have seen any photographs of the affected areas, you will notice that the roofs are generally made of a curvy shaped tin top, that is a CGI sheet. It usually takes about 8-10 to make a complete roof, housing about 7-10 people.

The cost of one CGI sheet is approximately $16-18 dollars per sheet (970-1100)

The specifications are:

Each sheet will be 10 ft X 34 inches
24 gauge
.55 MM thickness

The cost in the open market is:
Rs. 70,000 / ton
72 Sheets / ton

Any amount of donations submitted will be used for purchasing CGI sheets. You can use the donation link along the right menu area, below the archives section to donate using PayPal.

We desperately need your help! Please remember that the winter is worse than we anticipated and it is progressively getting more difficult to help on our own, we urge you to donate!

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