On 8 October a massive Earthquake (7.6 in magnitude) struck NWFP and Kashmir in Pakistan and India. The UN reported that the earthquake affected over 4 million people and 3.3 million people have become homeless. The Pakistan government initially put casualty estimates at 20,000. Today the official figure is 80,000 causalities – the Guardian (UK) has put the figure at 100,000. As most of the people remain buried where no one has reached this figure will, in all probability, be revised upwards again. Five billion dollars of property belonging to extremely poor peasants was destroyed. There is no longer an economy of any sort in these areas.
Currently the situation is that the 3.3 million homeless people require 250,000 tents to survive the brutal winter. So far only 33,000 have been mustered. Tent prices have gone up by 33% and only about 300 tents a day can be produced in Pakistan. There is only a small window of opportunity before winter proper sets in and destroys the lives of these people.
Although international donors have pledged 580 million dollars to the UN, most of this aid is reserved for long term reconstruction, however the money is required immediately to save people from the brutal winter. According to Oxfam, which has also disclosed that less than 20% of what is being sought by UN aid agencies has even been promised, the pledges are as follows:
France, Austria, Belgium, Finland, Greece, Portugal, Spain have not pledged a single penny.
When India, the country with the greatest amount of poor people in the entire world, can pledge an amount that is almost equal to the combined pledge of US and UK, then we really should stop to think about the “generosity” of the governments of these countries that spend more than a billion dollars a day on their militaries to maintain their global empires.
Therefore, the Communist Workers and Peasants Party requests the people of the above named countries to put pressure on their governments not only to increase their pledges but more importantly to deliver these relief funds to the UN before 15 November which is the date that closes the window of opportunity for millions of people.
Please friends, help us get this money out of the hands of these governments and flowing to relief organizations that can make a difference in these extremely trying circumstances. Comrades and friends, you can do this by getting this information across through the publications of your respective organizations, mainstream newspapers, radio channels, and television networks, the internet and other means. Call a spade a spade. Pakistan is experiencing a massive humanitarian disaster and these fat cats are sitting around twiddling their thumbs or throwing a few rotten crumbs to us that were in any case appropriated from the sweat and blood of workers, peasants and oppressed people the world over. Please shame your governments into action. We do not expect much from governments complicit in the genocide of 1.5 million Iraqi people. Nonetheless, building public pressure will expose these governments for the “humanitarian frauds” that they really are, and perhaps, just perhaps, shame them into improving their relief efforts.
Remember millions of women, men and children are counting on you. You may never meet them, you may never look into their eyes to feel the sea of grief that has afflicted their lives, they in turn may never even know that you made an effort to help them let alone be able to thank you for your effort but remember though we come from different corners of the world the real ties that bind us are stronger than the superficialities that separate us.
Long Live the International Solidarity of all Oppressed Peoples
Communist Mazdoor Kissan Party (Communist Workers and Peasants Party) 28 Oct 05