Tennessee Tech Indian students seeking donations to help with India quake relief

Measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale, the earthquake that rocked India on the morning of Jan. 26 has so far claimed nearly 20,000 lives. The death the toll is expected to rise to 30,000 as more bodies continue to be found under heaps of rubble and debris that were once homes and buildings.

At Tennessee Tech University, the active Indian Association of Cookeville is currently seeking donations to send to the American Red Cross to help with relief efforts. Student members of the IAOC were seen throughout campus recently handing out flyers asking for help and taking donations. Fortunately, no family members of TTU students live in the quake-affected areas. Donations are also being accepted at the university's Office of International Student Affairs in room 103 of Derryberry Hall.

"The student Indian Association is the primary sponsor of this fund drive. Our office will be collecting donations and then we will turn the money over to the Red Cross," explained Brian Mylrea, director of International Student Affairs.

The earthquake struck in the western state of Gujarat while tremors were felt as far away as Bangladesh, Nepal and the town of Pondicherry in south-east India where people fled in panic from a Republic Day parade. India was marking its 51st anniversary of its transition to a republic when the earthquake hit. The epicenter was the Rann of Kutch, a desert plateau in western India near the border with Pakistan.

On the Indian Association of Cookeville website: (http://eagle.tntech.edu/www/life/orgs/indian/), the student members send out to the public a personal message:

"While the whole nation was celebrating the republic day the fury of nature caught us unaware. Tragedy struck at 8:45 am on January 26th , 2001 and as it left it took with it 30,000 souls leaving behind heaps of concrete and twisted metal that once formed a city. We, the members of IAOC, at our end are doing what we can to help the victims. Please come forward and help us in the noble cause."

Those wishing to help can go by the International Student Affairs Office or send checks, payable to IAOC to 905 N Willow Avenue, Apt: F2E, Cookeville, Tennessee-38501.