When tragedy strikes, the Internet kicks in.
As it has done so often in our recent past, the World Wide Web has reacted to the earthquake in Islamabad and Jammu & Kashmir the only way it knows how fast. There have been requests for aid, pages devoted to contact information, blogs documenting rescue and relief efforts and sites that have long worked towards directing monetary aid to places that need it.
For the moment, here are the Web sites of four organisations currently accepting donations.
India Development and Relief Fund
The largest US-based Indian charities administered by volunteers without any honorarium or overhead. What this means is 100 per cent of your contribution is disbursed directly to the NGO. IDRF has raised more than US$16 million for developmental projects and the rehabilitation of victims from the 2005 tsunami, the cyclone in Orissa in 2000, and the Gujarat earthquake of 2001.
A gateway to information (with documents and maps) on humanitarian emergencies and disasters, this is an independent undertaking designed to assist the international humanitarian community in the effective delivery of assistance. It boasts well-maintained archives of information as events unfold, and also covers what it calls 'forgotten emergencies'. There are three offices in three different time zones, keeping information updated around the clock. The site was launched in October 1996 and is administered by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
Its aim To help people build secure, productive and just communities. Its programs currently reach 7 million people in more than 35 countries. Since 1979, Mercy Corps has provided over $1 billion in assistance to people in 81 nations. It is a non-profit organisation headquartered in Seattle, Washington, D.C. and Scotland.
LIFE emergency teams are currently in Pakistan, planning their strategy to help those affected. The organisation will provide emergency items and will also be responsible for the purchase and distribution of supplies. Medical and humanitarian supplies will be distributed through its office in Pakistan.
If you have information on other charities, online or offline, do write to us.
Complete coverage: Tremors across borders