Dear colleagues,

I am writing to you to ask you to do what you can to help your journalist colleagues whose lives have been devastated by the terrible events of recent weeks.

None of us can have failed to have been moved by the devastation wrought to lives and communities by the terrible events across Asia and parts of Africa.

More than 150,000 people have lost their lives and upwards of 5 million have been left homeless. The effects of this tragedy will be felt for years to come.

The response of members of the public has been overwhelming. I am sure many of you have already contributed to the various relief funds which have been established. Thank you for that.

Over New Year I received many calls from NUJ members anxious to find out information about the fate of journalist colleagues in the affected countries. The news is grim.

In the Aceh province of Indonesia alone most of the 80 staff of Serambi Indonesia, the only daily newspaper are dead or missing after the tsunami tore through its offices.

Since its founding in the 1990s, the paper has been one of the only sources of information from the war-ravaged Aceh Province. Its journalists have routinely faced violent attacks, threats and intimidation from both sides of the conflict in the region.

The Alliance of Independent Journalists reports that almost two-thirds of its members in Banda Aceh have been killed or are missing. Throughout Northern Sumatra around 200 journalists are missing.

The General Secretary of the AJI, Nezar Patria, lost 20 members of his family in the disaster.

The NUJ, along with other international journalists’ organisations has already pledged funds and support for the AJI to help its members in affected areas. We will be working closely with the International Federation of Journalists who have set up a special disaster fund http://www.ifj.org.

Members have already responded magnificently to this tragedy but assistance is still badly needed. Please do all you can to help your fellow journalists rebuild their lives and communities.

Donations should be made payable to IFJ Safety Fund and sent to

Jeremy Dear, General Secretary, NUJ, Headland House, 308 Grays Inn Road, London, WC1X 8DP

Alternatively you can make a payment by credit card by calling the NUJ on 020 7278 7916.

Thank you in advance for your assistance – and best wishes for the new year.

Yours sincerely

Jeremy Dear

General Secretary NUJ

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