October 8, 2006

Remember the Victims, Help the Survivors

It got a little cold over the past few days in the DC metro area. People started pulling out their wool coats, leather gloves, and cozy scarves as they cranked up the heaters in their homes and offices to stay warm in the near 50 degree weather. (Yeah, it's lame, I know, we're like that over here; we freak out when we get an inch of snow.) As people here and in many places in the northern hemisphere bundle up for the beginning of chilly weather, hundreds of thousands of people in are still living in tents one year after the tragic earthquake that hit Pakistan and Kashmir.

October 8th marks the 1st anniversary of the death of 75,000 human beings after a 7.6 magnitude quake struck the region. Millions of people were left homeless last winter, and this year again many thousands are still living in temporary shelters and tents.
The tremor occurred as the school day was beginning - 18,000 children died in schools alone, yet more were killed at home.

The BBC's Barbara Plett has visited the area and found that children are still being taught in tents and in the open air.

In one mountain village in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, where 49 children died, students told our correspondent that they are no longer afraid to go back into school thanks to encouragement from their teachers - although a school has yet to be built. [BBC]

This comes at a time when many of us are reflecting upon the many bounties we have that we nonetheless take for granted everyday. Whether it's during Ramadan, Yom Kippur, or Thanksgiving and Christmas, many of us will remember those who are less fortunate and attempt to ease their suffering to the best of our abilities.

Not only in Pakistan and Kashmir are people in dire need of assistance, but also in Indonesia where people are still reeling from the tragedy of the tsunami, and in Darfur, Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine where hunger, disease, and war plague the beleaguered peoples of those regions. Wherever you turn, there are people that need a helping hand, and with a simple click of a mouse, we can put food on their table, clothe their children, and help them find some peace of mind, however illusive that goal might seem.

Every little bit helps. And each of us surely has a "little bit".

Islamic Relief
UN World Food Programme
ICRCA survivor of the October 8, 2005 earthquake offers prayer at the grave of his father who died in the quake in Poonch, about 250 km (156 miles) northwest of the Indian city of Jammu October 7, 2006. REUTERS/Amit Gupta (INDIAN-ADMINISTERED KASHMIR)

A survivor of the October 8, 2005 earthquake prepares food for the iftar during Ramadan at a refuge camp in the devastated city of Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-administered Kashmir October 6, 2006. Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf asked the international aid community on Thursday for an extra $800 million to cover reconstruction costs after a devastating earthquake a year ago. REUTERS/Faisal Mahmood (PAKISTAN ADMINISTERED KASHMIR)

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At 9:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for the kind reminder. Les we forget, and we often tend to.


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