Tsunami break

Damn, I have a lot things to blog about right now. I’m going to take a brief interlude from my own personal tragedies and frustrations to think about the five million victims of the biggest natural disaster of our time. I have been wanting to do something to help, but couldn’t find an effort or organization that I really trusted to do the right thing. A fellow Chapel Hill activist (whose family I have known for about 10 years) is from India and she has the on-the-ground scoop. I am going to send money to the National Alliance of People’s Movements, which she mentions here:

Dear friends,
Thanks so much to everyone who has written and called to ask about my
family and friends in India and huge thanks for all of y’all who are
looking for suggestions of places to send donations.

My friend, Marie Varghese, writes: “To put things into perspective—while
the $35 million offered by the Bush administration seems like a lot of
money, it’s actually insignificant compared to what’s needed in a disaster
relief effort that spans continents and is expected to be the most
expensive in history. Check the numbers– The U.S. is spending $35 million
in Iraq every 7 hours. (And…the Bush administration is about to ask for
another $80 BILLION to cover the next installment of this tragic

All news about our family has been good, everyone made it through. My
mom’s elder sister, Wilma Alexander, in Kayamkulam, Kerala in southern
India reported that houses were ruined up to a block away from her house,
but she was all right. She has been going door to door in her
neighborhood, between prayer and candlelight vigils, to collect money and
clothes. Her home has turned into a hub for local relief efforts (massive
devastation within a mile away from there), and they are collecting relief
in any form- money, tylenol, antibiotics, milk powder, undergarments,
blankets, whatever. Mom just proposes not sending clothing from here, cuz
they may not be culturally appropriate.

It is very difficult to get through the phone lines, the circuits are
overfull, but here is her address, if you want to contribute in this way:

Wilma E. Alexander,
Kerala 690502

My other strong recommendation for donations is to the National Alliance
of People’s Movements (NAPM). Some of y’all may remember my writing when I
spent six months visiting family and people’s organizations in India. I
was incredibly impressed with the integrity of NAPM’s network of tiny and
enormous grassroots organizations. They have been doing effective work,
led by the most poor, oppressed, and dispossessed, long before
international aid agencies arrived, and will continue on the ground in the
years to follow. I pasted in the whole email from them further below, but
here is the address for NAPM:

Send your donations by cheques or DD in favour of NFF Tsunami Relief And
Rehabilitation Fund to NAPM National Office, Haji Habib Bldg., A wing,
First Floor, Naigaon Cross Road, Dadar(East), MUMBAI 400014. Tel. No. 022-
2415 0529 (Alimbhai).

Thank you, thank you, thank you, for all that you all do to make this
world a better place. Happy New Year!
Love, Manju

P.S. Here are some other options:

*Contact Oxfam, an international agency that has worked for years with
grassroots groups in the hardest hit areas in Sri Lanka, India and
Indonesia. Oxfam was able to mobilize local leadership to help survivors
immediately after the tsunami hit.
Call 1-800-77-OXFAM and ask for Donor Services to make a credit card
contribution. Or just click on the link to access a secure donation site:

*Millions of lives are on the line. Let Congress and the President know
that Americans are supporting strong leadership in this relief effort by
logging onto: http://www.moveon.org/tsunamirelief/

*Médecins Sans Frontiéres (also known as Doctors Without Borders or MSF)
delivers emergency medical aid to victims of armed conflict, epidemics,
and natural and man-made disasters, and to others who lack health care due
to social or geographical isolation. You can donate online by logging
onto: http://www.doctorswithoutborders-usa.org/donate/

Or mail donations to:
Doctors Without Borders
PO Box 2247, New York, NY 10116-2247
(888) 392-0392

2 thoughts on “Tsunami break

  1. Ruby, NAPM is a communist organization having ties with Maoists in Nepal and India. Maoists and their other fronts with names such as People’s War Group, People’s war and Communist Part of India – Marxist/Leninst (CPI-M/L) are designated as Other Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs) by the US State Department. You must be careful recommending organizations without displaying due diligence in investigating their motives.

  2. None of what you’ve said discredits the organization in my eyes. The United States government has ties with some much scummier characters than a bunch of do-gooder communists.

    Perhaps you should be careful trusting a government’s propaganda without displaying due diligence in investigating their motives.

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