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Lighting the Way forRelief: The 2005 South Asia 7.6 Earthquake

Posted 17-OCT-05

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Since the 7.6-magnitude earthquake struck northwest Pakistan on October 8, thousands of people live in utter darkness once the sun goes down. Now, light is on the way. Responding with urgency to the call for help, Pakistani-American Pervaiz Lodhie, owner of solid-state lighting manufacturer LEDtronics Inc., express shipped 2000 of his company's LED flashlights to Pakistan.

Horrified by scenes of devastation in his homeland, Lodhie took action. First, contributing to Pakistani President Musharraf's Quake Relief Fund, and then investigating what material assistance he could provide. Learning of the critical need for sustainable portable lighting, Lodhie knew it was a task that he was uniquely positioned to fulfill. "It is ideal that LEDtronics specializes in energy-efficient, solid-state lighting. The flashlights were sitting in the stockroom ready to go," says Lodhie.

LED flashlights are perfect for use in the arduous conditions existing in post-quake Pakistan. Their ruggedly constructed exteriors and internal components are nearly indestructible. They operate for up to six continuous days on a set of batteries unlike traditional flashlights, an important consideration due to the sporadic access to supplies. Additionally, LED flashlights eliminate the threats of burns, flames, fumes, spills and explosions of kerosene-fueled lamps.

The enormity of the disaster is unimaginable. More than 54,000 thousand people are dead, 3.3 million are homeless, and the area's infrastructure is decimated. Recovery will take decades. As Lodhie prepares another shipment of long-operating LED lighting products (solar-powered LED lanterns, LED candles and LED-illuminated safety vests) for the earthquake victims and rescuers, he is talking with competitors within his industry about contributing aid. Lodhie believes the scale of the tragedy transcends businesses, religions, ethnicities and politics. Lodhie adds, "It's the time for us to rise above our differences and help in this human tragedy."

Lodhie offers to facilitate any donations to the relief effort. He works with Indus Earth Trust, an NGO dedicated to alleviating poverty in Pakistan and is an organization with which Lodhie has collaborated with on many other projects, to handle the distribution of goods in Pakistan. Donations to the President Musharraf's Quake Relief Fund can be made to the Pakistan Embassy and Consulates.

Aside from assisting with the earthquake relief, Lodhie is a tireless champion for Pakistan, promoting Pakistani businesses and investments. He is a corporate member of the U.S.-Pakistan Business Council, which is an integral component of the South Asia Affairs Department at the United States Chamber of Commerce. Lodhie is also active in Pakistani American Leadership Center (PALC), a Washington-based organization dedicated to educating American public on issues related to Pakistan and Pakistani Americans. It recently helped found the bi-partisan Congressional Pakistan Caucus.

President's Quake Relief Fund: www.embassyofpakistan.com

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