Turn the tide of misery

THE Daily Examiner today launches a major appeal in which readers can play a key role in helping the victims of the Asian tsunami disaster.

The Examiner is one of 14 daily and 60 country and community newspapers throughout Northern New South Wales and Queensland that have joined forces with the aim to raise as much as $1million over the next few days.

All titles are part of the APN News & Media group, which has pledged $100,000 to launch a trans-Tasman APN Tsunami Relief Appeal.

CEO of the APN Regional Newspapers Division, Martin Simons, said the company had important outdoor advertising assets in Asia and had acted to help in a dire world crisis.

He called on readers to support families devastated by the tragedy.

As the tsunami death toll nears 120,000, authorities are battling outbreaks of disease which they fear could lead to thousands more deaths.

The need is desperate and urgent.

We ask readers to band together to donate $500 to form a group comprising family, friends, workmates, club members, colleagues, neighbours or associates to support the tsunami victims.

"I know it sounds a lot of money, but desperate families need our help," Mr Simons said.

"Together we can give so much more."

Funds raised by the APN Tsunami Relief Appeal in Australia will directly assist tsunami victims in Sri Lanka, where 22,500 people have died and almost 10 per cent of the nation's population are homeless.

Sri Lanka is perhaps the country hardest hit by the tsunami's fury and the one where the need is the greatest.

CARE Australia will be responsible for delivering readers' generous support to the people of Sri Lanka.

Funds raised in New Zealand will be distributed by the Red Cross.

APN staff have volunteered their time this weekend to take readers' pledges.

In supporting the appeal initiative, APN's Chief Operating Officer, Mark Jamieson, urged readers to find it in their hearts to lend a hand to people in desperate need and contribute towards raising $500.

"Maybe pubs could take up a collection, or generous businesses might pledge a donation," Mr Jamieson said.

"The generosity and compassion of our readers is well-known. I know you will do what you can to help the victims of a tragedy, the extent of which is something that we can hardly comprehend."

Readers are asked to ring 136 181 between 10am and 3pm today, tomorrow and Monday to pledge their support for the appeal.

All donations made are tax deductible.

"Five hundred dollars will make an enormous difference to families devastated by this tragedy," Mr Jamieson said.

"It could, for example, provide food for a family for three months, shelter, medical supplies and cooking supplies.

"It could, in truth, mean the difference between life and death for many people."

Smaller donations are welcome and can be directed to the following charities: Red Cross (1800 811 700), Oxfam (1800 034 034), World Vision (133 240), UNICEF (1300 732 240) and Medecins Sans Frontiers (1800 788 100).

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