The following reports have been sent back to IUP by Stuart Chandler, chairperson of the Asian Studies program, who is accompanying a group if sixteen IUP undergraduates for study and tour in Sichuan, where the recent earthquake occurred. Chandler and the students have witnessed the devastation firsthand and urge the IUP community to consider donating to relief efforts.
Those who wish to assist earthquake victims after reading his account might consider making contributions to the Salvation Army or the American Red Cross, both of which are recommended by the IUP Service Learning program.
As we receive more reports from the group, we'll post them here. Please check back.
May 17, 2008
Things are going well so far in China. The students and I hiked six miles of the Great Wall yesterday. It was phenomenal. I'd been to the Wall before, but this section is especially beautiful. As I think you know, I am taking the students to Chengdu for the language training. Chengdu is the capital of Sichuan--where the earthquake struck. Chengdu is fine, but just to the west is devastated (50,000 dead, five million displaced). We would like to raise funds to help the survivors. I would really appreciate it if you could help us collect some donations.
Any help would be appreciated. There is a lot of suffering over here.
We head to Chengdu tomorrow.
May 19, 2008
This has to be quick. Whatever you can do would be great. We are in Chengdu now but have to leave immediately. Will move program to Shanghai. Everyone in the city slept outside last night because of prediction of another big aftershock.
May 21, 2008
Unfortunately, we've had to leave Chengdu. The situation was too uncertain. We spent the last two nights sleeping outside in case there was another aftershock. (It was surreal to see millions of
people in a city all camping out in parks and streets.) At this point the aftershocks have subsided. The main potential threat is disease. As you've probably seen on the news, more than 40,000 people are
already confirmed dead. Authorities estimate that this number will climb well above 50,000. Another 260,000 people have been injured. Millions have be displaced. All of these numbers come from the region just west of Chengdu (not Chengdu itself). But Chengdu is one of the major places where the displaced have gone. The chance of disease is therefore significant. I'm not willing to risk that for the students so we've left Chengdu. We are now in Shanghai at Shanghai Normal University (another university with which IUP has exchange relationship). They have been really good about helping me to set up a program last minute. Although the students and I cannot directly help with relief efforts, each student is still contacting churches, schools, etc. in their home towns to raise funds.
Fortunately, the students are loving it so far--even the forty-hour train ride from Beijing to Chengdu on hard beds.