Press Relase: Monday, 10 October, 2005 (27 Assu, Samvat 537 Nanakshahi)

UNITED SIKHS Mobilises GHANAIA Relief Teams to South Asian Earthquake Regions


UNITED SIKHS Base Camp: Baramulla, J&K
Camp Coordinator: Bhai Esher Singh, 91-9872234651

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Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) - UNITED SIKHS has deployed GHANAIA earthquake relief teams in the affected areas of both India and Pakistan. A GHANAIA earthquake relief base camp has been set up in Uri, Kupwara district, the affected area on the Indian side of the India-Pakistan border. Another base camp is being setup in Pakistan at Gurudwara Panja Sahib in Hasan Abdal, about 45 km from Rawalpindi, with the help of Pakistan Sikh Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee (PSGPC) and the American Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee (AGPC). Efforts are also being made to set up similar base camps in other affected areas of Pakistan.

The earthquake, which occurred on October 8, 2005, caused unprecedented damage to life and property in Northern parts of Pakistan, India and Afghanistan. More than 40,000 are feared dead, thousands remain buried and millions have been made homeless. In a phone interview, Kuldeep Singh Bali, 50, president of Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee Srinagar apprised UNITED SIKHS of the extent of damage in his region. He said that thirteen Sikh families lost their homes and suffered injuries in Uri while another 150 Sikh families suffered damages in the Kupwara district of Jammu and Kashmir. Victims immediately need dry ration, langgar, blankets, tents, medical supplies, and financial help. He further stated that the walls of the historic Parampila Gurudwara Sahib (Pathshahi Chheween) had collapsed and that the Legaima Gurduwara Sahib at Uri has been completely destroyed.

UNITED SIKHS is purchasing emergency supplies such as high-altitude tents and woollen blankets from wholesale markets in Lahore, Delhi, Ludhiana and Amritsar. Jang Bahadur Singh, a professional chef, is heading the Langgar (free community kitchen) camps for the affected people.

Devastation in Baramulla, Kashmir. Photo Courtesy CNN.com Devastation in Baramulla, Kashmir. Photo Courtesy CNN.com

Bad communication by road is posing a great challenge for the delivery of supplies to the remote areas. UNITED SIKHS has requested logistics assistance from the Panjab government. The logistics team led by UNITED SIKHS project coordinator, Bhai Esher Singh, is making all efforts to solve the logistical problems.

"We need to get supplies to the remote areas of Azad Kashmir of Bagh, Muzzafarabad and Rawalakot and Balakot and Manshera in the North-West Frontier province," said Dr Naim Niazi, a humanitarian relief co-ordinator who is assisting UNITED SIKHS to procure and mobilise emergency supplies on the Pakistan side. Dr Naim, based in Islamabad, is co-ordinating with the Pakistani army to ensure that aid agencies are able to send emergency supplies to the remote areas.

UNITED SIKHS calls for help and support from national and international Sikh and non-Sikh communities and organizations, to assist all those in need. Along with monetary donations from individuals and organizations, there is also a need for volunteers with valid Pakistani visas. Any help at this time of need will be greatly appreciated.

South Asian Earthquake Relief Links:

Issued by:
Kuldip Singh

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