Help Pakistani earthquake victims | AspenTimes.com

Help Pakistani earthquake victims

Dear Editor:On Oct. 8, 2005, a 7.6-magnitude earthquake struck the mountainous region of northern Pakistan. Over 3 million are homeless, and 1.2 million children are now out of school. In the past two years, globally we have seen a slew of natural disasters, with so many in a short period. It would be easy to become numb to this kind of devastation and stop giving assistance.Pakistan’s situation is particularly fragile. Given the severity of Himalayan winters, the population is incredibly vulnerable. Infrastructure in the mountains is currently a mess with the devastation, and aid agencies are struggling with limited resources. As a result, distribution of the little aid that has arrived has been very difficult. People are living in unwinterized tent cities that are out of food, and medical supplies are scarce. Financial resources have been limited and complicated with international bureaucracy issues. As winter progresses, without continued efforts, death tolls will rise with complications of cold and remote isolation. Working with the American Alpine Club and the long-established connections with the Alpine Club of Pakistan, we are collecting money for the purchase of food and shelter. Our close relationship with the Pakistani climbing community eliminates many of the hurdles of actually getting aid to the affected regions successfully. In November, the AAC shipped 11.5 tons of warm winter clothes, tents and sleeping bags to Pakistan; 4.4 tons were from the Roaring Fork Valley and collected in less than 10 days. This was a great effort; thank you for your help. A little will go a long way. A donation of $200 will provide a family of 10 an adequately insulated shelter. A donation of $2,600 will build a schoolroom. Whatever you can do will help greatly.As part of this continued support effort, we are putting out a “cash challenge” to schools. If a school raises $20 per student, we will come to that school on our return from Pakistan with an audio/visual presentation, teaching them about Pakistan, the earthquake and what their contribution accomplished. We feel it is important to teach children to be a part of the global community and to show them what a difference their efforts can make.We will be traveling to Pakistan in late January to transport supplies into the mountains and stay to help as needed. As a completely volunteer effort, 100 percent of the money raised goes directly to purchase and transportation of essential goods. The only donation we will accept personally is frequent-flier miles to help with our travel. Tax-deductible cash donations can be made via PayPal, directly to the American Alpine Club at: http://www.americanalpineclub.org, or checks made payable to: American Alpine Club c/o Pakistan relief effort. Mail these to: American Alpine Club, 710 10th St., Suite 100, Golden, CO 80401. Please call if you have any questions: (970) 923-6757.Sallie ShatzOld Snowmass

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