Thank you

    Friday, October 14th 2005
    This is Leicestershire

    Leicestershire people have raised an amazing £150,000 in less than a week to help desperate victims of the South Asia earthquake.

    Money, clothes, aid and medical equipment have been pouring in to appeals launched all over the county.

    Saturday's earthquake wiped out entire villages in Pakistan and killed more than 35,000. India has reported more than 1,350 deaths in the part of Kashmir it controls. According to the United Nations, at least two million people have been left homeless.

    A Unicef appeal to help children and families, backed by the Leicester Mercury, has so far raised almost £3,500.

    Caroline Graham, fund-raising manager at Unicef, said: 'With nearly one-fifth of the affected population under five years old and half under 18, your money is helping Unicef to take immediate action to save children's lives.'

    Businesses, places of worship, community groups and individuals have quickly rallied round.

    Akhtar Ali, 50, from Oadby, is flying out to Pakistan today after raising £40,000 through family and friends. Mr Ali, who has helped in Kosovo and Afghanistan, said: 'I decided to go after seeing the images on TV. We are putting money through the charity Human Aid and will help with distributing medical aid and generators.'

    Zuffar Haq, chairman of the Leicester Patients Group, is also flying out today after he collected more than £10,000. His International Hospital Relief Trust charity has transported two tonnes of medical aid and a 40ft container packed with incubators, wheelchairs, beds and trolleys.

    He said: 'A few doctors who saw the equipment being cargoed said it was like a mini hospital being sent out.'

    Charity Ummah Welfare Trust, with a branch in Haddon Street, Highfields, helps poor Muslims in crisis and has raised £65,000 in three days.
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