It was heartening to hear Ehsan Mani announce at the awards night on Tuesday that the ICC had decided to donate $US 500,000 to the Red Cross to assist in relief for victims of Saturday's devastating earthquake in Pakistan, India and Afghanistan. There was also a moment's silence observed during the evening's function in respect for those affected by the disaster.
The second day of the SCG supertest - this coming Saturday - has been designated by the ICC as a fundraising day for the relief appeal. While they have ruled out, for logistical reasons, a repeat of the one-dayer arranged for the tsunami victims in January, I wouldn't be surprised to see the BCCI and PCB organise a special match of their own.
Here is the text of the ICC press release issued yesterday:
Day two of Johnnie Walker Super Series Test dedicated to helping victims of Asian earthquake.
ICC to provide $US500 000 to Red Cross
The International Cricket Council (ICC) and the Australian Red Cross, on behalf of the international relief agency Red Cross/Red Crescent, today announced that Saturday, 15 October 2005, day two of the Johnnie Walker Super Series Test match will be dedicated to helping the victims of the Asian earthquake.
The ICC, the Australian Red Cross, the global Red Cross/Red Crescent and the Host Broadcaster, Channel 9 will join forces to help raise funds for the relief efforts in the region during the day.
To kick start the appeal the ICC Executive Board will make an immediate donation of US$500,000 from the proceeds of the Super Series to Australian Red Cross to assist in its relief efforts through the Red Cross/Red Crescent.
On 15 October, the ICC and the Australian Red Cross with the support of the event Host Broadcaster, Channel 9, will also run a number of activities at the ground and through the telecast to help encourage people to donate to the Appeal.
A toll free number for Australian residents – 1800 811 700 - will be displayed during the telecast to allow donations to be made to the Australian Red Cross while overseas viewers will be able to make a donation by going to the Australian Red Cross website – www.redcross.org.au - which will link to a number of Red Cross/Red Crescent websites around the world for donations to be made in a specific country.
At the venue, activities on the Replay Screen, the Public Address system and on-field activities will be used to help encourage people at the venue to make a donation.
ICC President Ehsan Mani, who hails from Rawalpindi, one of the areas affected by the earthquake, said: “All of us at the ICC are shocked and saddened by this tragedy and the impact it has had in my country and I send my prayers and condolences to all those affected by it.
“In matters such as this, where our member countries have been so directly and critically affected, it is vital that the ICC and cricket uses its influence to be a force for good.
“The Chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board, Sharayar Khan, and the President of the Board of Control for Cricket in Indian, Mr Ranbir Singh Mahendra, played a leading role in helping the Board to understand the impact of this tragedy and all countries were unanimous in their support of this initiative.”
Dale Cleaver, Acting CEO of Australian Red Cross expressed gratitude to the ICC for their generous contribution and urged the public to get behind the Asia Quake Appeal.
“The ICC is showing the way for all of us. This is a massive disaster affecting millions, and the US$ 500,000 injection will go a long way towards the relief effort. But the needs are indeed much greater than initially anticipated and I urge the public to show their compassion yet again and make their own contribution,” said Mr Cleaver.
The measures and proposals were agreed at the ICC’s Board meeting in Sydney, which concluded on Tuesday, to help alleviate suffering caused by the earthquake, with Pakistan and India among the worst affected countries.
The confirmed death toll from the earthquake, which struck on Saturday morning, 8 October, is already in the tens of thousands with fears it could rise to far higher.
Up to 60,000 people are believed to have been injured by the earthquake that measured 7.6 in magnitude with an estimated two million people made homeless as a result of its impact.
The earthquake’s epicentre was in Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, itself only 96 kilometres north-east of the Pakistan capital of Islamabad.
The earthquake was felt in Islamabad, Lahore and India’s capital, New Delhi.
The Executive Board considered the proposal to play a charity match in Australia in support of the relief effort but it became clear that the operational and logistical barriers would be impossible to overcome and the Board believe that these initiatives provide the quickest and most effective way of providing the assistance required.