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November 8, 1999
Several Groups Pitch In For Cyclone Relief
R S Shankar
More than a dozen Indian-American and mainstream organizations have joined the international effort to help the victims of recent cyclone that has left at least 2,000 people dead and several millions devastated in Orissa, Bengal and Andhra Pradesh.
Among the organizations lending a helping hand are the Federation of Indian Associations, CARE, the US Committee for UNICEF and American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee.
For many Indian Americans the Diwali season is a time to give away money and material for good causes, notes Yash Pal Soi, president of FIA. He says the community has to be more aware about giving this year since millions across India's east coast had no Diwali to celebrate, their homes having been washed away and cash crops worth billions of rupees destroyed
The India Development and Relief Fund, Inc, which during the past decade, has remitted $ 1,750,000 to various charitable organizations in India, including $ 20,000 for the 1992 Uttarkashi earthquake victims, $ 300,000 for the 1993 Latur earthquake victims, and $ 30,000 for the 1996 cyclone victims, has also joined the relief effort.
The IDRF recently also raised $ 255,000 towards Kargil relief.
CARE, the international relief and development organization, which was providing food for half a million people in Orissa's Ganjam district and shelter to 10,000 families following the first cyclone, has stepped up its donation drive after the second cyclone.
"These people have lost everything," explains Nita Hassan, CARE's program officer for Asia. "Our initial work must be to ensure that they have shelter, and enough food and clean water. After that, we will look at how we can help them in the longer term."
CARE has committed $ 2.4 million in food assistance so far to the victims of the cyclone, plus $264,000 in shelter and other non-food assistance.
CARE has worked in India for almost 50 years. It implements projects in nutrition, health care, small enterprise development and basic girls' education, and provides emergency relief as needed. CARE works in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. It also works in the neighboring countries of Bangladesh and Nepal.
Listed below are the addresses of some organizations involved in cyclone relief work:
IDRF, 4807 Phebe Ave, PO Box No 28322, Fremont CA-94555.
Federation of Indian Associations, 1398 Edinburgh Dutch Neck Road, West Windsor, New Jersey 08550.
American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, 711 Third Avenue, 10th Floor, New York, NY 10017.
American Red Cross, PO Box 37243, Washington DC 20013.
CARE, 151 Ellis St NE, Atlanta, GA 30303-2426.
Catholic Relief Services, 'India Cyclone', PO Box 17090, Baltimore, MD 21203-7090.
US Committee for UNICEF, 333 East 38th Street, New York, NY 10016.
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