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Turn disaster into opportunity: PM

The tsunami disaster should be used to rebuild coastal economies, PM said.
PTI | By Indo-Asian News Service, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JAN 07, 2005 08:13 PM IST

Moved by reports of tsunami survivors rejecting worn clothes sent in thousands from across the country, fashion doyenne Ritu Kumar is sending hundreds of new cotton saris, T-shirts and other clothes to victims.

"I have asked my factories to make hundreds of T-shirts and saris - as many as they can make fast - to send to the relief camps," Kumar said.

She has already sent the first lot of clothes. More are being made. In all, Kumar expects to send more than 5,000 saris and T-shirts but said she is pushing for as many as could be made quickly.

We are essentially clothes makers and in times like these people desperately need fresh clothes and this is something we can do fast and easily.

"We have the materials and the infrastructure to do this quickly. I was thinking of sending food and other materials and then it occurred to me that people also need clothes and they need them in large numbers.

"Exactly what our production facilities are capable of making."

Kumar said she was also moved by tales of crisis of clothes in the relief camps and the dearth of good, clean clothes.

"It was terrible to read that people have been sending worn and sometimes even torn clothes to the relief camps," said Kumar.

"Of course people don't want to wear such stuff. They have lost everything but they are not beggars. When I called the authorities, they said so many clothes are lying on the streets here because people don't want them.

"I wanted to do all I can and clothes seemed a great way to help because it's something we can do in great numbers and fast. There were also reports that among some of the aid that has come from abroad are gowns and things like that.

"Now that's okay and I'm sure that the intention was very good but no one here wears gowns. Which woman in the villages affected will wear a gown and walk around? They would be too shy.

"We want to fill in these gaps and send as many clothes as we possibly can."

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