Students contribute to Taiwan earthquake aid

Josh Linehan

As the official death toll climbed to more than 2,100 and rescue workers struggled to rescue survivors of Tuesday’s massive Taiwanese earthquake, University students from Taiwan met to coordinate efforts to send aid back home.
The Taiwanese Student Association called an emergency meeting Wednesday night to organize a fund-raiser next week. Details will be finalized at a meeting this evening.
Tuesday’s quake, measured at magnitude 7.6 by the U.S. Geological survey, injured more than 7,800 people and has caused widespread power and water service disruptions.
Strong aftershocks followed Wednesday, complicating efforts of rescuers working to free the 2,600 still thought to be trapped among the rubble. More than 100,000 people are estimated to be homeless.
Eric Ong, a founding member of the Taiwanese Student Association, said he hoped people from around the world will reach out to victims of the earthquake.
“Even though Taiwan is not a poor country, not everyone is rich. Not everyone will have the money to rebuild,” Ong said.
The Taiwanese earthquake was slightly more severe than the magnitude 7.4 quake that shook Turkey last month, killing more than 15,000 people.
Philanthropic donations are especially important in the case of Taiwan, which the United Nations recognizes as part of China.
“Taiwan is pretty isolated in the international community,” Ong said. “The U.N. cannot even send aid without going through China.”
The student association will begin selling T-shirts at Coffman Union next Wednesday. The shirts will feature Chinese characters for love and kindness over a map of Taiwan.
Donations are also being accepted at the Asian American Student Cultural Center and at the Minnesota International Student Association.
The associations will send the proceeds directly to a relief organization working in Taiwan, most likely the Red Cross.
Anthony Wang, a member of the association, said it was important for the group to raise money to help with the relief effort instead of relying on other groups for the money.
“As a student group, we have a responsibility, not only to students at the University, but to students around the world,” Wang said.
Taiwanese Student Association President Calvin Chu said he hoped all U.S. residents would be generous in their donations to Taiwan.
“It was one of the worst disasters ever. We hope University students and everyone else will reach out and give what they can. We hope to send over as much as possible,” Chu said.

Josh Linehan covers science and technology and welcomes comments at [email protected] He can also be reached at (612) 627-4080 x3212.