ACT NOW TO SAVE PRECIOUS
LIVES, REBUILD HAITI
BY JAVED ZAHEER, HONORARY
EDITOR & FREE EXPRESSION AWARD WINNER
Like always and now the people of Canada of all communities,
origins and governments of all levels---Federal, Provincial and
Municipal---have sincerely opened their arms, hearts and wallets to share
the sorrow, pain and grief of the Haitians who are facing unimaginable
terrible times as a result of tremendous destruction and devastation
caused by the 7.0 magnitude massive earthquake on January 12, 2010,
resulting in thousands of deaths, millions of injured and dislocation of
people in their place of origin---Haiti.
was the worst earthquake to hit Haiti in two centuries. The epicentre of
the quake was about 15 kilometres from the capital, Port-au-Prince. Over
three million people have been affected. Hospitals, churches, schools,
apartment and government buildings and other structures have been damaged.
Communication lines are badly damaged or are out of service. This
is only a small portion reported and assessed otherwise the damage is
is time to seriously THINK, honestly UNITE and practically ACT. Cruel
death has been unleashed by the natural disaster of huge magnitude and
hunting the sick, injured and starving people. Already the death toll has
reportedly passed the 200,000 figure and is rising every moment.
are still trapped by the claws of death under the debris of destruction.
Global efforts are underway to save maximum possible lives. Such is the
focus and priority because material damages can be covered but lives lost
cannot be brought back.
and other members of the international community are presently on the
ground responding to the humanitarian emergency. They are there to save
precious lives and help rebuild Haiti.
Haiti, the world has been turned upside down and it will take decades to
fully recover and rebuild the country. Every single cent and help counts
to save the lives of all those appealing, calling and struggling for
survival. News reports speak to shortages of the necessities of life,
humanitarian aid that is slow to arrive where it is needed and roads that
are impossible to navigate.
of trained emergency personnel are searching for survivors, providing much
needed food and water, rendering emergency medical care wherever they can
and providing comfort.
need the world’s attention, action and help NOW. A lot is being done but
a lot more is needed to be done otherwise it will be too late for those in
need of urgent and immediate help. We cannot afford to lose precious
need people to go there and help and do whatever we can do. There is
really a need to help the Haitians. The situation there is terrible and
extremely critical. We have very important roles to play and we are in a
position to play. Canadians can make great difference by tremendous
contributions in all possible ways.
order to help the people of Haiti, Jim Karygiannis, PC, MP,
Scarborough-Agincourt, Toronto, hosted the Haiti Earthquake Relief Round
Table on Friday, January 22, 2010, from 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM, at the Star
Walk Buffet, 648 Silver Star Blvd., Scarborough, Ontario.
Karygiannis, in his address, said: “Now is our time to come forward and
help others without asking. It’s our time to get together. If you think
we as a community can do something, please do whatever is possible. Get
involved in fundraising and all other activities to help the affected
people. Just do anything to support the people. This is our chance to do
something to help the people.”
Karygiannis thanked all those who supported him including his staff.
Round Table on Relief for Haiti was attended by a large number of
influential people and distinguished personalities of various communities
including leaders of ethnic communities, business leaders, educators,
religious leaders, elected officials and community leaders. They are all
concerned about helping the people of Haiti.
Distinguished members of
Pakistani community were also present there including Dr Shahid Hashmi,
Chairman, Canpak Chamber of Commerce,
Sohabe Hashmi, emerging leader of the new generation, Nawab Salim
Khan, Founding Member and Director of Pakistan Association of Canada,
Javed Zaheer, Honorary Editor of English Weekly `Pakistan Abroad’, Andy
Merchant of CPBC.
Shahid Hashmi, who is very close to Jim Karygiannis as a team member and
family friend, maintains his old firm stand on such situations: “All the
devastations, destructions and deaths that take place in the poor
countries can be prevented with the help of the latest technologies that
the advanced countries have. Why these technologies are not being used to
predict the happenings of the natural disasters? Why do they have to come
forward only for help when the destruction takes place and why not help
alert the world before? This could be a great help in saving millions of
precious lives and massive destruction.”
Dr Shahid Hashmi and his son,
Sohabe Hashmi, are actively involved in helping the people, including of
Haiti, through the Canpak Chamber of Commerce. All those interested in
helping them can contact them: firstname.lastname@example.org and
email@example.com . Tel: (416)876-1667 and (905)832-6985.
Karygiannis, MP, is known and
recognized for his immediate response, practical actions and sincere
aggressive efforts to help all those in crisis in any part and corner of
the world. He is fully supported by his family, staff and team. He
immediately does what many others think.
This is his character,
humanitarian and leadership quality. This is why he is respected, loved
and supported by the people of not only his constituency but of other
constituencies as well. He is aggressive, dynamic and cooperative and
believes in actions and results.
to Statistics Canada, Scarborough-Agincourt is one of the most ethically
diverse constituencies in Canada. When a natural or man-made disaster
strikes, the devastating effects are keenly felt in Scarborough-Agincourt.
community has come together on many occasions including when:
Typhoons and landslides hit the Philippines.
Earthquakes struck Sichuan, China and South Asia.
iii) Cyclones swept across
Myanmar (Burma) and Bangladesh.
Massive flooding deluged Guyana.
Hurricanes battered the United States.
Tsunami struck South Asia.
the Round Table on Relief for Haiti, one minute silence was observed for
those killed in Haiti. The important discussion of the Round Table was on
how we, as concerned Canadians, can best assist our neighbours, the
survivors of the earthquake in Haiti.
The City of Toronto is also
involved in the Haiti relief effort. The GTA has an estimated 20, 000
residents of Haitian descent. The Ontario government has committed $1
million (Dollars one million) in emergency aid.
always, Canadians are offering aid and humanitarian assistance in times of
need. Canadians are a generous people and, in times of international
disaster, they open their hearts and wallets to assist people in dire
are answering disaster-relief appeals from aid agencies for the victims of
the earthquake in Haiti.
of Canadian humanitarian organizations, despite their hectic schedules,
attended the Round Table on Relief for Haiti and talked about the
challenges their personnel are currently facing on the ground.
who were present and those who spoke on the occasion included:
del Grande, Toronto City Councillor for Ward 39, Chin Lee, Toronto City
Councillor for Ward 41, Ms. Soo Wong, Toronto District School Board
Trustee, Pierre Eddy Toussaint, a respected member of the Haitian Canadian
community, Gerry Phillips, MPP for Scarborough-Agincourt, Ms. Jennifer
Mayville, Communications Co-ordinator, Ontario Zone of the Canadian Red
Cross, Dennis Fair,
Provincial Director of International Programs for the Canadian Red Cross,
Ms. Penny Fancy, Resource Director for IDRF, Michael Weickert, Senior Team
Leader in Humanitarian and Emergency Assistance for World Vision, Dr Aslam
Daud, Chairman of Humanity First, Matt Capobianco, Manager, Emergency
Programs, Global Medic, Sam Sotiropoulos, Community Liaison for the Round
Table discussion, and William
Jiang, Director, Taipei Economic and Cultural Office.
The participants of the Round
Table on Relief for Haiti engaged in thought-provoking deliberations that
will, no doubt, prove extremely helpful. They heard from representatives
of the Haitian Canadian community, humanitarian aid organizations
currently on the ground in Haiti and elected officials. They discussed how
to help the neighbours in need.
and every participant realized that the challenges that people in
Haiti---Survivors, international humanitarian organizations and the news
media are facing are monumental.
Dossal was facilitator for the Round Table on Relief for Haiti. He is a
businessman who is concerned about community service and outreach.
At the end of the Round Table
on Relief for Haiti, delicious lunch was served. Jim Karygiannis, MP,
thanked Tony Woo, President of Star Walk, International Buffet, for
allowing the use of the hotel for the Round Table. Jim presented him a
to a Press release issued by office of Jim Karygiannis, MP,
on the Round Table on Relief for Haiti:
Honourable Jim Karygiannis, Member of Parliament for
Scarborough-Agincourt, on January 22, 2010, convened a multi-faith,
multi-cultural forum on the current situation in Haiti.
Community leaders and representatives of humanitarian agencies
discussed the importance of long-term assistance for Haiti.
“Jim Karygiannis said that
the situation in Haiti is critical in the aftermath of the massive
earthquake. Canada and the international community have emergency
humanitarian teams on the ground providing clean drinking water; food;
and, emergency medical care. It is crucial that the world be there for Haiti in the next
few months and decades.”
from the Canadian Red Cross, the International Development and Relief
Foundation, World Vision, Humanity First and GlobalMedic reported on the
difficulties emergency aid workers are facing as they help sustain the
life of survivors.
“A member of the Haitian
Canadian community, Pierre-Eddy Toussaint said it is important for
everyone to remember that Haiti needs to be re-built. The world has a
moral obligation to help Haiti educate its children, re-build society and
revive hope amongst its people and create a lasting legacy.”
one hundred participants, many of whom have experienced similar disasters
in their homelands, are considering how they can best help Haitians now
and in the future.”
pictures of the Round Table on Relief for Haiti, please visit:
Free Expression Award Winner (NEPMCC---Canada), Desi Idol Recognition
Award Winner, Member & Honorary Director of NEPMCC, Veteran Active
Member (VAM) of Toronto Press Club, Member of The National Club, Member of
The Ontario Club, Honorary Editor of English Weekly `Pakistan Abroad’,
Chief Editor (Honorary) of English Weekly `The Ambassador’, ex-Senior
Sub-Editor of English Daily DAWN, Pakistan, and Honorary Director of
Canadian Active Networking Of Peoples Interest (CANOPI) is contributing
purely on Voluntary and Honorary Basis in order to serve all people and
communities with the spirit of community and humanity service. The
objective is to make both the Pakistani media and the Pakistani community
powerful, influential and effective. Contact: (416)696-0981/ firstname.lastname@example.org.