Calling this outpouring “nothing short of amazing,” Eric Falt, the Director of the UN Information Centre in Islamabad, told reporters that “the United Nations here – but also elsewhere around the world – has been flooded with individual expressions of support for the humanitarian situation in the region,” apart from the backing it had received from many countries. Mr. Falt said that in addition to offers of financial contributions, “we are getting a lot of offers of help from people who feel moved by the situation and who are quite literally ready to jump in an airplane to come and help us.” He cited the example of a citizen of New Zealand who had reported that she felt “personally concerned with the plight of the people of Afghanistan.” Offering another such example, UN spokesperson Stephanie Bunker quoted from a letter received from a US citizen. “I am a survivor of the World Trade Center tragedy,” the letter said. “I worked after the event with the New York police to connect with families of my company’s missing people – we lost 225.” The writer went on to ask for information on how to get involved in the relief effort, saying, “This is a moment in my life where I have energy, spirit and will to help in any way I can.” Mr. Falt noted that non-governmental organizations (NGOs) were a good vehicle for individuals seeking to offer their time. He added that anyone wishing to pledge funds could do so by supporting the work of UN agencies working in the area or by contributing to the UN Afghan Emergency Trust Fund, which is administered by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). Contributions can also be made through NETAID at its website, www.netaid.org. read more

Celebrated Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky will be a special guest at an upcoming Brock University Film Series (BUFS) screening of his latest film, Watermark.Watermark is a sweeping and often piercing look at humanity’s relationship with water.Edward Burtynsky (photo: Brigit Kleber)The film brings together stories from around the world about our relationship with water: how we are drawn to it, what we learn from it, how we use it and the consequences of that use. It is also the second collaboration between Burtynsky and multiple-award winning filmmaker Jennifer Baichwal after Manufactured Landscapes in 2006.Burtynsky, a native of Niagara who donated a $617,000 photo collection to Brock in 2012, will take part in a Q&A about Watermark after a screening of the film on Wednesday, Feb. 26 at 7 p.m. at the Landmark Cinema, Pen Centre.His visit will mark his return to BUFS for the first time since the 2006-07 season, when he brought Manufactured Landscapes to St. Catharines.“One of our goals with BUFS is to feature works that engage with other initiatives taking place around Brock and in the community,” says Scott Henderson, associate professor and chair of Brock’s Department of Communication, Popular Culture and Film.“And Burtynsky is a good example of this because he’s a practising artist from Niagara dealing with environmental concerns and making interesting documentaries about it,” he says. “For him to come and introduce his film and take part in a question-answer after the screening, that’s just an added bonus for our audience.”Watermark premiered to great acclaim at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in September 2013. In January 2014, the Toronto Film Critics’ Association named it the Best Canadian Feature of the year. Burtynsky and his collaborator Baichwal won the same $100,000 prize in 2006 for Manufactured Landscapes.Burtynsky’s visit is facilitated by Film Circuit, a division of TIFF, which provides support to 180 film groups across Canada, including BUFS and groups in Welland and Niagara-on-the-Lake.BUFS is an ongoing project of Brock’s Department of Communication, Popular Culture and Film, bringing the best in international, independent and Canadian cinema to Niagara for nearly 40 years.BUFS screenings are open to the public. Tickets to Watermark are $10 each and go on sale at the BUFS ticket table in the theatre lobby of Landmark Cinema at 6 p.m. on Feb. 26.The BUFS winter season runs every Wednesday until April 2 (except March 12). read more