How to Help Tsunami Relief Efforts

The International Action Center in Los Angeles would like to urge anyone receiving this email to consider making a donation to the victims of the tsunami.  

Following are relief organizations made up of a network of independent grassroots organizations with a history of providing political and direct economic aid to Southeast Asia. In addition, the aid provided by these organizations is most effective since it is unfettered by U.S. corporate or ruling class interests in the perspective countries hit by the tsunami. They are:

Indonesian Civil Society Coalition for the Victims of Earthquake and Tsunami - Donations can be made over the Internet at www.greengrants.org.

People's Crisis Center (PCC) of Aceh - Via the East Timor Action Network (ETAN) of the United States at www.etan.org  

Health Sector Trade Unions Alliance - marian@mangotribe.com  or Varuni@world.oberlin.edu  

A description of each of these organizations follows.

In several countries, independent efforts are being made by grassroots organizations to reach the people with food, water, clothing and information to help them over this critical time. This is most urgent in the Aceh area of northern Sumatra, where the destruction is the worst. Much of the low-lying area virtually collapsed after the earthquake and is now under water. And this area has also been brutally repressed by the Indonesian military for decades and was off-limits to any outsiders.

Indonesian Civil Society Coalition for the Victims of Earthquake and Tsunami:

A number of civil groups came together quickly after the disaster and formed the Indonesian Civil Society Coalition for the Victims of Earthquake and Tsunami. It has opened a crisis center in Medan, North Sumatra, and another in Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia. It is supported by Tapol, an organization dedicated to letting the world know about the terrible repression that has been going on in Indonesia since the 1960s and to gaining justice for the many political prisoners there. The coalition also includes Indonesian Forum for the Environment (WALHI) and Friends of the Earth Indonesia, which are connected to environmental groups in other countries. These two groups had been focusing on the wholesale destruction of the Indonesian rain forests by unregulated cutting down of the majestic hardwoods there and on deadly pollution by transnational companies like Newmont Mining.

WALHI reports: "Approximately 200 volunteers in Banda Aceh (including ours) have gotten more organized and divided themselves into medical, emergency kitchen, sanitation and general affairs teams. The medical teams are divided into an on-center team and a mobile team that go around to provide assistance in other refugee spots and centers. Latest information confirmed that they have reached 26 refugee spots in Banda Aceh and surrounding areas, some of them including those which have not received any aid."

The coalition asks people in the United States to donate to Greengrants Fund, which will send the tax-deductible contributions directly to Indonesia and has made matching funds available.

People's Crisis Center (PCC) of Aceh:

Another organization providing relief is the People's Crisis Center (PCC) of Aceh, which has been working for years with people in refugee camps displaced by the war there, according to U.S. journalist Allan Nairn. The East Timor Action Network (ETAN) of the United States is channeling aid to the PCC and similar on the-ground Acehnese groups.

Health Sector Trade Unions Alliance

In Sri Lanka, the Health Sector Trade Unions Alliance has set up nine health camps in Hambantota, Matara, Galle, Ampara and Trincomalee and deployed over 100 health workers, including nurses and doctors. It is giving health advice and distributed 100,000 leaflets among the people in the refugee camps. Sri Lankans abroad are beginning to organize solidarity fund raising events to send money back home. On Jan. 15, a benefit for progressive Sri Lankan relief efforts will take place at 8 p.m. at 900 Fulton St. in Brooklyn, N.Y. Contact marian@mangotribe.com  or Varuni@world.oberlin.edu  for details on how to set up a fund raiser in your area and contribute to the efforts.

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