Buddhist centre to quake victims? aid

By PARVEEN GILL, The Star, October 21, 2005

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia -- The Buddist Maha Vihara in Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur, has launched a disaster relief effort in aid of victims of the Oct 8 earthquake in Pakistan, Afghanistan and India.

For a start, its Chief Venerable of Malaysia and Singapore Ven Dr K. Dhammananda handed over 1,800 new blankets to High Commission of Pakistan First Secretary Ameer Khurram Rathore on Tuesday.

He also handed over a RM10,000 cheque to Mercy Malaysia's senior officer in charge of fundraising and donor management Sharida Suhaila Abdul Shukor.

Earlier, during a brief discussion with Ameer and Sharida at the centre, Dhammananda said: ?Now is a good time for both countries (Pakistan and India) to improve their relationship after 47 years (in) battle.?

The Buddhist Maha Vihara had early this year collected some RM3.1mil in cash and dispatched 46 containers laden with clothing, food, water and medicine to survivors of the Dec 26 tsunami that hit Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka and Thailand last year.

However, the centre?s vice-president Sirisena Perera said unlike previous relief efforts, this ongoing aid project was being properly planned to cater for the immediate needs of the victims.

?Our unintended slower-than- expected response to this catastrophe is due to logistical issues and inaccessibility to the affected areas.

?After discussing with the Pakistani Embassy, we have decided only to collect cash, heavy-duty tents, blankets, water purifying tablets, medicine and 350KVA generators.

?Those interested in helping can do so at the centre on Monday to Friday between 9am and 10am,? he said, adding that the centre was also liaising with the Global Sikhs organisation.