By Geoffrey Cook, MMNS
Emeryville (Calif.)–As I was disembarking from a twelve-hour red-eye train journey from Southern Oregon, your stringer was handed, a thick packet that was within my past weekâ€™s mail from a Ms. Sarah Potts in the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance within the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
The communiquÃ© was a call to organizations and publications (such as the Muslim Observer) that most directly â€œtalkâ€ to the American Pakistani community and the Islamic community at large on the United Statesâ€™ efforts regarding the tragedy and human misery brought on by the Pakistani floods, and how government and its Muslim citizens could support each othersâ€™ efforts.
As of August 9th, the American government has pledged $35 million dollars in relief funds. To update Washington efforts, please navigate to www.usaid.govâ€“ Keyword Pakistan Floods.
USAID recommends making cash donations rather than in kind contributions to legitimate (Islamic) charities and other Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) who can purchase the required relief material on the ground. Names of legitimate groups â€“ Islamic & non-Islamic non-profits– accepting such contributions can be found at the URL (Uniform Resource Locator) above under the Keyword: Donations.
To quote Sarah Potts: â€œâ€¦Cash donations allow disaster relief professionals to procure the exact commodities neededâ€¦locallyâ€¦[thereby]â€¦reduce the burden on resources â€¦in [a] disaster [zone]â€¦[also] support the economy of theâ€¦stricken region; and ensure dietary and environmentally appropriate assistance.â€
More information on making donations can be found at the Center for International Disaster Information (www.cidi.org) or (703) 276-1914; Information to the humanitarian community (including the Islamic) is found at www.relefweb.int.