COLUMBIA — On May 13, a 7.9 magnitude earthquake rattled Dujiangyan, China. Shortly after, many Chinese students on MU’s campus began discussing ways they could help the victims overseas. The Friendship Association for Chinese Students and Scholars of MU has organized a fundraiser that will take place at MU’s Memorial Union on Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sam’s Club on Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and the Wal-Mart on Conley Rd. on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“We saw the news on the Internet and TV and saw that a lot of Chinese people are suffering,” said Zhenhua Ma, president of The Friendship Association for Chinese Students and Scholars. “We just want to try our best to help our brothers and sisters.”
The donations will be sent to the Chinese Consulate in Chicago, which is sending donations through the Red Cross Society of China.
You Li, a graduate research assistant with family in China, thinks that this situation goes farther than the issue of money.
“We are showing that we care about the people who are suffering,” she said, “It’s caring about the human interest.”
By Thursday afternoon the association had collected a generous amount of donations, some of which came from MU professors. Zhenbo Qin, a math professor, made a $200 donation on behalf of himself and his wife.
“We just felt sorry for the victims and knew that we needed to do something,” he said.
Zhihai He, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, made a donation of $300 to help the victims in China.
Monday’s earthquake is the strongest the country has had since a 7.8 killed 200,000 people in Dec. 1920. As of Thursday, the Dujiangyan death toll was at 19,509, but Chinese state officials say that number could reach 50,000. The disaster shattered four million homes and directly affected ten million people. One of the most devastating figures is the casualties from the schools that were affected. About 2,000 students and teachers have been killed or are missing.
The quake started around 12:30 p.m. on Monday. From the 900 that barely had a chance to escape in Juyuan, only a handful have been found.
At least $125 million in cash and goods has been collected from public donations, and the Chinese government is asking for hammers, shovels, demolition tools and rubber boats from the public. Rescuers have been working since Monday searching for survivors and victims among the rubble. Unfortunately, an earthquake expert said a survivor can last only about three days without food and water.
— The Associated Press contributed to this report.