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Bourne: Welsh support for earthquake victims

Speech to the National Assembly for Wales.

"This was a truly awful earthquake that had Muzaffarabad at its epicentre, and which, as the First Minister said, affected people in Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, and Pakistan and India-administered Kashmir.

Our thoughts must go out to the hundreds of thousands of people in the United Kingdom who have relatives and friends in the area. When there are close Commonwealth ties, we are bound to feel it even more than when it is a dreadful disaster elsewhere.

I would like to extend the condolences of the Welsh Conservative Party to everyone affected.

The First Minister is right about the international response and the Welsh aspect of that response. We all felt a sense of pride in the team from Llanfairfechan and in its work.

In addition to money - which, as the First Minister correctly says is the most needed commodity, so that it can be used to purchase things locally - I hear that there is a desperate need for helicopters.

I am sure that the Department for International Development is aware of that, but could that message be underlined? It seems that, given the nature of the terrain - and I have been to the Indian part of Kashmir - helicopters are by far the best way of getting around. So, there is a desperate need for those.

I would like to reinforce what Ieuan said about making it easy for health workers from Wales to get out therem if there is any way of doing that, particularly if they are able to speak Urdu and Kashmiri, which I am sure would be a massive plus to the communities out there.

I would also suggest that, if it is necessary to assist in a response from other faiths and religions, the interfaith forum, which is one of the valuable things that we have established as an Assembly, may be of use in helping to co-ordinate assistance from other faiths in what I am sure will be a magnificent response from people in Wales.

It seems that, despite the dreadful disasters that we have had this year - or the end of last year in the case of the tsunami - there is no donation fatigue; people are happy to give and to contribute if they know that there is a way of getting that assistance through. Once again, I thank the First Minister for the timely statement."

"Yr oedd hwn yn ddaeargryn erchyll a Muzaffarabad yn ganolbwynt iddo, a effeithiodd, fel y dywedodd y Prif Weinidog, ar bobl ym Mhacistan, Affganistan, India, a hefyd yng Nghashmir a weinyddir ar y cyd gan Bacistan a'r India.

Rhaid i'n meddyliau fynd at y cannoedd o filoedd o bobl yn y Deyrnas Unedig sydd â pherthnasau a ffrindiau yn yr ardal. Lle mae cysylltiadau Cymanwlad agos, yr ydym yn siwr o deimlo'r peth yn fwy na phe bai'n drychineb ofnadwy yn rhywle arall.

Hoffwn anfon cydymdeimlad Plaid Ceidwadwyr Cymru at bawb yr effeithiwyd arnynt.

Mae'r Prif Weinidog yn iawn am yr ymateb rhyngwladol a'r agwedd Gymreig ar yr ymateb hwnnw. Yr oeddem i gyd yn teimlo balchder yn y tîm o Lanfairfechan ac yn ei waith.

Yn ogystal ag arian - sydd, fel y dywedodd y Prif Weinidog yn iawn, yr hyn sydd fwyaf ei angen, fel y gellir ei ddefnyddio i brynu pethau'n lleol - yr wyf yn clywed bod taer angen am hofrenyddion.

Yr wyf yn siwr bod yr Adran Datblygu Rhyngwladol yn ymwybodol o hynny, ond oni allwn danlinellu'r neges honno? Ymddengys imi, o ystyried natur y tir yno - ac yr wyf wedi bod i ran India o Gashmir - mai hofrenyddion yw'r ffordd orau o bell i symud o gwmpas. Felly, mae angen dybryd am y rhain.

Hoffwn gadarnhau yr hyn a ddywedodd Ieuan am ei gwneud yn haws i weithwyr iechyd o Gymru fynd draw yno os oes ffordd o gwbl o wneud hynny, yn enwedig os medrant siarad Urdu neu Gashmiri, a fyddai'n fantais aruthrol yr wyf yn siwr i'r cymunedau draw yno.

Byddwn hefyd yn awgrymu, os oes angen cynorthwyo mewn ymateb gan grefydd neu ffydd arall, y gallai'r fforwm rhyng-grefyddol efallai, sy'n un o'r pethau gwerthfawr a sefydlwyd gennym fel Cynulliad, helpu i gydlynu cymorth gan grefyddau eraill, fel rhan o ymateb bendigedig yr wyf yn siwr gan bobl Cymru.

Ymddengys, er gwaetha'r trychinebau erchyll a gawsom - neu ar ddiwedd y llynedd yn achos y tsunami - nad yw pobl wedi blino ar roi; mae pobl yn fodlon rhoi a chyfrannu os ydynt yn gwybod y gellir cael y cymorth drwodd. Unwaith eto, diolchaf i'r Prif Weinidog am y datganiad amserol."

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