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Northwestern Joins Pakistan Relief Efforts

Faculty, staff and students organize and support activities to assist victims of devastating flood

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September 23, 2010

Northwestern students, faculty and staff are rallying to assist in relief efforts related to the flooding in Pakistan, which has devastated large areas of that country.

“I urge members of the Northwestern community to support the activities being organized by our faculty and students as well as the world-wide relief efforts,” said Northwestern President Morton Schapiro. “On behalf of the University, I extend our sympathy to all of those affected by this disaster and to their friends and families, both in Pakistan and here in our community.”

The Northwestern Center for Global Health in the Feinberg School of Medicine is organizing a symposium on the Pakistan flooding and the global relief efforts. Featured speakers include: Dr. Asher Hasan of Naya Jeevan for Kids, a social enterprise that provides micro-insurance for the urban poor; Todd Shea from Shine Humanity, a disaster relief organization; and Dr. Rashid Chotani, vice president and global advisor for public health at Experior Advisory and director of the Global Infections Disease Surveillance and Alert System at the School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University.

“The scale of the disaster is immense and mounting,” said Dr. Seema Khan, professor of surgery and Bluhm Family Professor of Cancer Research. “There also is a health crisis looming as people lack access to food and clear water and disease spreads. Through this conference, we hope to focus the attention of the Northwestern community and beyond on the growing needs in Pakistan.”

Dr. Nushmia Khokhar, fellow in the division of hematology/oncology, will lead a roundtable discussion at the symposium.

“The Center for Global Health has been very responsive in helping us arrange this symposium,” said Dr. Khokhar. “The catastrophe and devastation caused by the floods is unimaginable. The generosity of the American people is unsurpassed, but a disaster of this scale, with close to 20 million people affected and an entire infrastructure destroyed, will require long-term assistance and rehabilitation.”

The organizers have created a website, pakistanfloods.org, updated regularly with the latest news on the floods and links regarding donations.

Northwestern undergraduate students are launching a fundraising campaign titled “NU Stands with Pakistan.” Over the coming weeks, the students plan to hold educational events and fundraisers and raise $8,536, a dollar for each undergraduate student. The donations will go to Oxfam, a worldwide organization that is mounting relief efforts in Pakistan.

“We ask students and other members of the Northwestern community to join the effort, donate and spread the word,” said Sahil Mehta, one of the group’s leaders. “Through a united effort, we can make Northwestern University a forerunner in responding to this terrible crisis.”

The group has created a website with information on how to donate and plan fundraising events and on Oxfam’s efforts.

In addition, the Kellogg Student Association has established a goal of raising $10,000 for disaster relief for the flooding, by texting “FLOOD” to 27722.  Each text will send a donation of $10 to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees and automatically be billed to a person’s cell phone bill.

For information on how to make donations for flood disaster relief, including by text message, visit the U.S. Department of State.