Monday, May 19, 2008

Athens Helps With Natural Disaster Relief

Samantha Pompeo

When six o'clock arrived Saturday afternoon, International Week 2008 officially came to a close. The weeklong event, aimed at raising awareness of the large melting pot that is Ohio University, includes screening documentaries about the civil war in Liberia and a live video conference from Sudan. But the street fair this year had a special focus: natural disaster relief in Myanmar and China.

Myanmar Cyclone

While the cyclone in Myanmar happened more than two weeks ago, relief is still needed in a country that has been slow to accept international aid. At the International Street Fair, booths were doing what they could to help people on the other side of the world. Yeliz Celik, a volunteer at the Turkish booth, says "For Myanmar, we were a little bit concerned at first because it is hard to give them money because the government is not that helpful, but we got in touch with some schools in Myanmar and we are directly going to put some money in their bank account."

Yeliz Celik explains how the Turkey booth got involved in helping disaster victims.

A quick search on Google can give numerous websites that claim to provide help for those affected by natural disasters, but is it safe to trust these sites? UNICEF and Direct Relief International are all organizations that claim 100% of the money donated goes to help the victims of these disasters. By donating to either UNICEF or Direct Relief International via the search engine, Google says it will donate up to $1 million.

China Earthquake
A week ago, an earthquake measuring 7.9 struck the Sichuan region of southwestern China. The country started a three-day mourning period on Monday. Some Ohio University students working at the street fair were directly affected by the earthquake. Summer Zhan, who worked at the Tibet booth, said "my hometown is so near to Sichaun and my family was scared so much, so I think it's a significant thing to do this"

The Tibet booth workers explain how their booth at International Week can help.

The search engine Google is also donating money to China. Mercy Corps, which specializes in disaster relief, and the 2008 Sichuan Earthquake Relief Committee by Oversea Chinese, created specificially to help victims of the earthquake, are working to rebuild the damaged areas. Google is vowing to donate $2 million to assist in relief.

Red Cross
The local Red Cross had a booth at Saturday's street fair, but volunteers say that the money they collected would be for the local chapter, which would then be distributed to disaster-affected areas.

The local Red Cross chapter says it works locally, then internationally.

The Red Cross collects money locally, which allows it to help people overseas.

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