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OTTAWA The Canadian Union of Public Employees today pledged $100,000 to assist in the massive relief effort following the earthquake and tidal waves that have devastated several Asian countries leaving more than 120,000 dead.

This is one of the worst natural disasters in history and our half a million members would want their union to assist in any way possible, CUPE National President Paul Moist said.

We are offering our pledge through Oxfam Canada which is working in the hardest hit regions of Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia, Thailand and other countries, added National Secretary-Treasurer Claude Gnreux. Oxfam workers are members of CUPE.

Drinking water and medical supplies are major priorities, said an Oxfam news release. An Oxfam aid flight left on Dec. 29 carrying 27 tons of emergency water equipment worth $250,000 (CDN), going first to Sri Lanka and then to Indonesia.

Oxfam is preparing 25,000 packs of food locally, containing rice, flour, dhal, fish, sugar and cereal, plus 10,000 packs of soap, sanitary towels, candles and matches, the release said.

We urge our members to pledge what they can to help, Moist said. It is at times like these when the labour movement rallies to support workers who have lost family members, their homes and their livelihoods.

The CUPE leaders will issue a written appeal to all members to do what they can to assist the tens of thousands of families stricken by the disaster.

To make a pledge to Oxfam Canada, go to www.oxfam.ca. For ongoing coverage of labours international relief assistance, go to www.labourstart.org/tsunami/. Also visit www.cupe.ca for more information.


Paul Moist, cell (613) 558-2873;
Claude Gnreux (porte-parole francophone) cell (613) 794-8395;
Ron Verzuh, CUPE Communications, cell (613) 266-1240