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New relief fund to help South Asia quake victims

October 8 earthquake devastated parts of Pakistan and India, killing tens of thousands.
By Donald E. Skinner

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A fund to help victims of the earthquake that devastated parts of Pakistan and India on October 8 has been created by the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee and the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations.

The 7.6-magnitude earthquake killed tens of thousands of people. Thousands more were injured and, with winter approaching, estimates of the number left homeless exceed 1 million.

Martha Thompson, manager of the UUSC's Rights in Humanitarian Crises program, said the organization is working to identify ways to help three groups of people.

"The first are women, who are always at high risk for personal safety in refugee camps," Thompson said. "The second group is preschool children who are orphaned and are at risk of being taken as indentured servants. The third group of people are those who live in villages so remote that help had not reached them a week after the quake."

Thompson says the UUSC has relationships with social service organizations in the region and will work through them to ensure that aid gets to those who need it most.

Thompson said she is concerned that people who gave generously for last year's tsunami and for hurricane relief this fall may not respond to this third disaster. "But the situation is so dire there," she said, "we have to do everything we can."

Donations to the UUSC-UUA South Asia Earthquake Relief Fund can be made online at www.uusc.org or by mail to the UUSC at P.O. Box 845259, Boston, MA 02284-5259.

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