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Reach out to Asia charity flight relief to earthquake victims in Pakistan

The `Reach Out To Asia` charity initiative takes its first steps to help the…

The `Reach Out To Asia` charity initiative takes its first steps to help the underprivileged across Asia with a special charter flight heading for Pakistan next week carrying much-needed aid for victims of October`s devastating earthquake.

Much-needed blankets will be flown from Doha, capital of Qatar, to Pakistan for distribution across the northeast region in what is a desperate race against time for survival for locals as the winter weather sets in.

Tens of thousands of families have been left homeless following the strongest ever tremor in the region seven weeks ago that caused the deaths of almost 90,000 people. Volunteers from around the world have since flocked to Pakistan to assist in the relief efforts. Aid agencies are extremely worried about further loss of life from exposure to the cold mountainous weather.

Sheikha Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, daughter of the Emir of Qatar, will be heading a delegation of officials from `Reach Out To Asia` and other Qatar-based charities on the special flight to Pakistan on December 16.

She will be personally distributing aid in some of the worst hit areas and holding talks with government officials and education authorities on the rebuilding efforts of the country.

Sheikha Mayassa has been spearheading the `Reach Out To Asia` campaign, a long-term initiative, that kicked off last month with a fund-raising star-studded gala auction dinner in Doha which raised QAR 40 million (US$10.7million) for the charity.

Qatar Foundation, Qatar Airways and the Doha Asian Games Organising Committee (DAGOC) have backed the campaign, which is a 10-year initiative, that aims to support worthy causes around the world – but focusing initially on the Asian continent.

Reach Out To Asia was launched as a concept in September. Since then more than QAR 70million (US$20million) has been raised through individual donations and a charity auction which is an incredible figure considering the birth of the charity just a few weeks ago, said Sheikha Mayassa.

We are now gaining momentum and using the money raised in a practical manner for a very worthy cause. I would like to extend my thanks to all those who have supported Reach Out To Asia and assure them that the money is being spent wisely and effectively. The people of the worst-hit areas from the earthquake in Pakistan are desperately in need of blankets because winter is setting and keeping them warm is the utmost priority.

The November 16 `Reach Out To Asia` charity auction dinners, plus individual donations on the night in Doha, raised QAR 40million (US$10.7million). More than 500 guests attended the glittering bash, including former US President Bill Clinton, Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson, Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, former gymnast and Olympic gold medallist Nadia Comeneci and Canadian rock star Bryan Adams.