Monday, November 07, 2005

One of the Numberless ‘Good Guys’

There have been literally thousands of people who have given their hearts and souls to help the earthquake victims. It is of course impossible to refer to even a fraction of them by name, so I’ll mention just one.

Why this particular one? I think because it seems to me that he is one of the individuals presently ‘thinking outside the box’. There are others I am sure doing the same, but for the moment he is the only one I know doing it.

This ‘good guy’ – Aamer Ahmed Khan - happens to be a senior Pakistani journalist working with the
BBC who has spent most of the last four weeks in the earthquake zone and has undoubtedly witnessed loads of extremely horrendous and harrowing scenes.

The dreadful reality that many of the victims still remain beyond reach, despite the passage of a month, has preyed upon Khan's mind. So with the help of local officials he has been able to identify 22 locations with a total population of 40,000 where the situation is believed to be ‘particularly bad’. These are reportedly the hamlets and villages of:

Chaliana, Riyali, Jagirpatti, Pahelian, Kath Chungi, Kath Ban, Jargi,Chilai, Barian, Saidpur, Bharoha, Mirpura, Flakan Tarban, Ashkot,Guhl, Yaswa, Bandi, Jora, Manduk, Islampura, Parnai, & Seemari.
The local military commander has informed Khan that it is ‘safe to assume’ that none of the above places have received any sort of assistance so far.

According to my information Khan is now urgently raising a supply chain of porters and voluntary mountaineers who will soon hopefully be daily delivering half a ton of basic rations to these remote areas to help locals withstand the ravages of oncoming winter.

I would therefore request all readers who are concerned by the plight of these haplessly remote victims to join Yahoo! Groups : neelamvalley and follow Aamer Ahmed Khan’s progress.

And if you can help him succeed in his mission with funds, volunteering your services or just offering a message of moral support, all the better!


Zak said...

Aamer is an amazing writer..his previous work in the herald speaks for itself.

Onlooker said...

You are right. Until recently he was the editor of Pakistan's most prestigious and reputable news magazine - The Herald.

Now it's time to return the compliment by publicizing his mercy venture - Aamer needs all our support to help those in dire need in the Neelum Valley.

The easiest way to do this by getting people involved.The 1st step is to get them to join

Onlooker said...

Forwarding Message from Aamer Ahmed Khan

Fri Nov 11, 2005 11:03 am
Subject: Standard packets of supplies and update on effort


As we move into the valley with our relief goods now - for which all planning was completed late yesterday - we urgently need a steady supply of rations.

Here's the plan:

A three-tiered transport chain into the valley is being set up -
motorised, mules, humans immediately. These people will be carrying ration packets from Muzaffarabad to Pattika initially and then depending on whether conditions on to Doelian and Nauseri.

One packet consists of the following - no variations please because any change in weight will affect our distribution system.

Atta - 12 kg
Daal - 1 kg
Ghee - 1 kg
Powdered milk - half kg
Sugar - half kg
Salt - 250 g
red chillies - 125 g
Small candles - 12
Matchboxes (good quality please) - 2

Local porters are being organised at Pattika, Deolian, Nauseri. It has been raining in the valley all day yesterday. The winter has now truly begun.

Those wanting to send goods directly can send them to Muzaffarabad. The trucks are to be told that as they reach the civil secretariat - they need to call Asad Maroof - 0321 242 1231 and he will direct hem towhatever storage dump has space.

Those interested in sending supplies directly MUST stick to exact specifications and we must be informed before they are despatched.

We are working on supplying 100 tons of rations which will be
collected by the villagers from our forward depots. Our attempt is to reach as many families as possible and provide rations for the next five months.

The requirement is phenomenal. Others are also stepping up their work as the main road opens. Neelam valley has a total population of well over 120,000 - about 40% of which is estimated to be living on dangerously low levels of supplies.

We have both local and official information on where to reach these
people. It is up to us to figure out how.

The army has promised to assist wherever possible but we must have noreliance on them. Asad Khan who has had experience working in the
affected areas of Muzaffarabad & Bagh is also guiding us and we hope
to increase the size of our team. We need volunteers who can manage
our forward stores, the people we have will burn out after 10 to 14
days & we are seeking back ups and rotational support.

And all we have is a few more weeks till the weather shuts down our operation.

From Monday onwards, the email group will have a daily posting every evening.

Aamer Ahmed Khan