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NZ Kashmir community joins forces with TEAR Fund

For Immediate Release: 28/10/05

NZ Kashmir community joins forces with TEAR Fund to help earthquake victims

The New Zealand Kashmir community is working with TEAR Fund to provide urgently needed local knowledge and logistical support for victims of the October 8th earthquake that struck India and Pakistan.

Kashmir, the disputed mountainous province that has been fought over for by India and Pakistan for many years, was devastated by the quake. With hundreds of thousands of people still without shelter and winter snows expected within weeks, desperate attempts are being made to provide tents and essential supplies in time.

There are a number of Kashmiris in New Zealand. Zeb Aurangzeb, who moved to New Zealand from Pakistan-administered Kashmir 15 years ago, is among those working with TEAR Fund to provide local knowledge and identify local leaders in the isolated Rawalakot district, in which TEAR Fund's partners are working.

"Our families in Kashmir need to survive this winter and together we will do all we can to assist them", said Mr Aurangzeb.

"The Government of Pakistan is taking too long to assist the people with basic needs. The people need temporary shelters now", he added. "We people of Kashmir have strong connections to our roots, our home. Our families want to rebuild as soon as possible."

Through its regional partner, TEAR Fund is distributing tents, warm clothing, clean water and food.

TEAR Fund's Executive Director Stephen Tollestrup said, "This is a community effort. It is important for TEAR Fund to be in partnership with our own local Kashmiri community here in New Zealand".

TEAR Fund has pledged to remain in Pakistan and India for the duration of the emergency response phase, expected to take nine months, and will also stay on a long-term basis to pursue reconstruction and rehabilitation projects.

TEAR Fund is accepting donations to assist earthquake victims. Donations can be made by phoning 0800-800-777 (24hr), or online at www.tearfund.org.nz. Instant $20 donations can also be made by calling 0900 90 777.


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