Group asks for aid to India quake victims

By Jen Bland

Students of NIU, put aside your materialistic “needs” and give to a humanitarian cause this week.

Eat one less burger or buy one less T-shirt to help out the victims of the earthquake that struck India Sept. 30.

As a result of the quake 30,000 Indians are confirmed dead, 12,000 injured and more than 130,000 are homeless. The quake was felt by all of Southern India, but the state of Maharashtra was hit the hardest.

The NIU India Students Organization will have tables set up through Thursday to collect donations. They will be in the Center Cafe all week and also will be in Cole Hall today.

The organization has been on campus for six years, but until last year they were known as the South Asian Society. The group tries to help new students adjust to the campus and tries to promote Indian culture. There are about 200 members.

If students are unable to visit these tables, Z. Ahmad, programming coordinator of University Programming and Activities, will be accepting checks until Friday. Checks must be made out to “American Red Cross: India Disaster Relief Fund.”

Ahmad said the organization was motivated to help the victims because many members are from that area and even though they are living in the U.S., they would like to contribute to the relief effort.

“We thought we could help out in some small way,” said Chandra Kanth B.N., president of the India Students Organization.

“We want to get people in the spirit of helping,” Ahmad added.

Nancy Smith, chapter manager of the Rockford branch of the American Red Cross, said all donations will go directly to the National Red Cross office and they will send the money to the International Office to be used in India.

Smith said the Red Cross has been sending three tons of food, medicine and other supplies daily and are launching an appeal for three million dollars to help them in their relief efforts.

Despite the geographical location of this disaster, students can still be involved in the relief efforts. Ahmad said he believes students should be concerned just out of humanity.

“When disaster hits we as humans need to help each other out,” he stressed. “If we can see people suffering and we are able to contribute we should.”

Kanth B.N. added, “This is a human tragedy and everyone should come together and help.” He said he does not feel there has been enough coverage in the media, but, “the devastation is unimaginable.”