Less than a week after a devastating earthquake hit South Asia, the death toll soars to 42,000. Villages in northern Pakistan, India, Kashmir and Afghanistan were leveled, leaving millions homeless. With hailstorms hindering the relief effort, victims hang onto their lives with what little hope they have left. They turn to the generosity of others in hopes of survival.
Several organizations in the area, including the following, have mobilized to offer help to the region. Many have arranged to collect donations through their Web sites as the fastest, most efficient way to help.
Islamic Relief Worldwide has launched a $10 million appeal for the victims of the earthquake. Of this, $4 million has already been allocated. In partnership with AmeriCares, Islamic Relief is sending a shipment of United-Nations-World-Health-Organization-approved emergency medical kits. The shipment was scheduled to leave Tuesday from AmeriCares' warehouse in Amsterdam . To donate online, please go to www.irw.org.
Islamic Relief Worldwide will be the key organization collecting donations at the Council of American Muslim Professionals' dinner 6 p.m. Oct. 23. The South Asia Earthquake Relief Dinner will be held at Indian Garden in Chicago. The cost is $21. Please R.S.V.P. at www.campnet.net.
The Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago is making nightly appeals for donations. In addition to raising money for survivors, the council is also working on providing crucial help for the tens of thousands who are buried under the rubble, That includes arranging for search and rescue teams with K-9 dogs, as well as heavy equipment and carrying helicopters.
Kareem Irfan, past chairman of local Council of Islamic Organizations and member of the national board, said "Because there is a strong Pakistani population in the suburbs, everyone I have talked to has been impacted in some way. It's important that as Americans we pull together and response across the country." To donate online, go to www.ciogc.org. Mail donations to 330 E. Roosevelt Road, Suite G5, Lombard IL 60148 or call (630) 629-7490 or visit www.ciogc.org.
The Chicago office of the Council of Islamic-American Relations is calling not only for donations to charities that will help the victims of the earthquake, but also grassroots efforts by individuals to ensure help goes where it's needed.
Act! Act! Act! is an effort asking Chicago area residents to e-mail and call their state and federal representatives, asking for helicopters and K-9 rescue teams to be sent to Pakistan to search for survivors in hard-to-reach, or demolished areas.
"Donations only help those who've been excavated," said Ahmed Rehab, the council's Chicago spokesman. "That's why we're pursuing this, so we can still save more lives."
Rehab said he is also contacting imams at local mosques in efforts to make Friday a day of prayer and donation day for victims of the earthquake.
Founded in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the Taskforce of Muslim Relief Organizations was established to help people in need. The organization has pledged $20 million to help the earthquake victims. The Islamic Society of North America is coordinating the task force, and key organizations include Council on Islamic American Relations, Muslim American Society, Islamic Circle of North America and Muslim Public Affairs Council. To donate online, please go to www.isna.net. To send a check or money order, please send it to ISNA, South Asia Quake Fund, P.O. Box 38, Plainfield, IN 46168.
Islamic Circle of North America Relief sent Ikram Hussain from Chicago to affected areas of Pakistan to coordinate relief efforts on behalf of ICNA Relief/Helping Hand in Earthquake, He is requesting all governments and nongovernment organizations to provide search and rescue teams in northern Pakistan's earthquake-affected areas on an emergency basis. ICNA Relief has pledged $500,000 for the victims of the earthquake in South Asia. To donate online, please go to www.reliefonline.org.
In the Pakistani- and Indian-controlled sides of Kashmir, teams from Doctors without Borders are focusing on medical assistance, mental health counseling and the distribution of relief and medical supplies to assist the existing response. To donate online, please go to www.doctorswithoutborders.org.
Founded in 1947, the Edhi Foundation is accepting donations for the earthquake victims at paks.net/edhi-foundation.
Islamic Medical Association of North America, in addition to collecting donations, is organizing efforts to send doctors from across the nation to aid in the relief effort. The request was sent out Monday. Representatives from the organization said they already received responses from about 30 doctors offering their services. To donate online, please go to www.imana.org.
Founded in 1979, the 3000-member Pakistani Islamic Medical Association is a registered nongovernment organization with 70 branches. To donate online, please go to www.pima.org.pk.
The Illinois Chapter of the Association of Pakistani Physicians of North America will host a fund-raiser Friday in Villa Park. The dinner will be held 5 p.m. at the Villa Park Islamic Center. Tickets for adults are $100 and $50 for students and children. The physician's organization Illinois President Shabbir Chowdhry said the group will send all donations received to the areas affected by the earthquake.
"We're not looking for items, just straight cash," he said, and added that donated cash can be sent to and received by survivors faster than donated goods. To donate online, please go to www.appna.org.
Although Pakistan was the country primarily hit, there are countless victims in India as well. Bringing relief to areas of South Asia, Indian Muslim Relief & Charities encourages everyone to donate, whether it be a small or large contribution. To donate online, please go to www.imrc.ws.
A relatively new organization, Hidaya Foundation was founded in 1999 to implement educational, social welfare and charitable projects in economically depressed areas of Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and the United States. Members of the organization have began sending shipments of dry food supplies, dates, blankets, tents, medicine and juices. The organization is working with Abbotonian Medical Association to treat the wounded at Ayub Medical Complex. To donate online, please go to www.hidaya.org.
Based in Elgin, Ummah Relief International is collecting funds and medical supplies, sending donations as they receive them. The president of Ummah Relief, Majeedullah Khan, said he had been to the affected areas before the earthquake, and some of the same villages now are "completely wiped out. Others are 90 percent destroyed." Khan added, "The response is good. People really want to help." To donate online, please go to www.ummahrelief.org.
Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan in Washington D.C. is accepting donations. According to the embassy's Web site, www.embassyofpakistan.org, the government of Pakistan has appealed for cash donations.
Donations can be made through checks payable to President's Relief Fund. Mail to the Head of Chancery, Embassy of Pakistan, 3517 International Court, NW, Washington DC 20008, or directly to the President's Relief Fund Account at National Bank of Pakistan, 1875 Connecticut Ave., Washington DC 20009. Use Account Number: 1001003931; Routing Number: 026004721; Swift Code: NBPAUS33.
The Embassy's Crisis Management Cell headed by Mohammad Sadiq continues to provide round-the-clock services to Pakistanis and Pakistani-Americans. The cell is coordinating travel for relief teams to Pakistan. For questions and inquiries, contact the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan at (202) 243-6500 or visit www.embassyofpakistan.org,
The Federation of Suburban Pakistanis is also accepting donations locally to the President's Relief Fund. Contributions can be made to Bank One, JP Morgan Chase Bank, Chicago IL 60670. Use Account Number: 699516282; Routing Number: 071000013; Swift Code: CHASUS33. To contact the federation, send to the Federation of Suburban Pakistanis, P.O. Box 5, Streamwood IL 60107, or call (847) 289-7168.
The Village of Hoffman Estates is planning to host an earthquake relief fund-raiser at the Village Hall, 1900 Hassell Road, in conjunction with the Federation of Suburban Pakistanis sometime this weekend, according to Muzammil Siddiqui, the federation's general secretary. "At this point, we are not sure if it will be scheduled for Friday or Sunday. We are finalizing things with Mayor William McLeod," Siddiqui said on Tuesday. For additional details about this weekend's tentatively scheduled event at the Village Hall, call the village at (847) 882-9100.
The American Red Cross is accepting money donations to its International Response Fund, P.O. Box 37243, Washington DC 20013 or call 1-800-HELPNOW (435-7669) or visit www.redcross.org.
AmeriCares humanitarian organization is accepting money donations to AmeriCares Foundation, 88 Hamilton Ave., Stamford CT 06902 or call 1-800-486-4257 or visit www.americares.org.
CARE, a poverty relief organization, is accepting money donations to Chicago CARE, 70 E. Lake St., Room 1430, Chicago IL 60601-7449, or call (312) 641-1430 or visit www.careusa.org.
UNICEF humanitarian organization is accepting donations to UNICEF, 333 E. 38th St. New York, NY 10016 or call 1-800-486-4233 or visit www.unicefusa.org.
Staff Writers Patrick Corcoran and Kari Lee contributed to this report.