By Phurbu Thinley
Dharamsala, April 20: In response to the devastating earthquake that shook Yushu last week, Tibetans exiles here have formed a temporary relief committee to help facilitate donations from Tibetans and friends, both in India and elsewhere around the world.
Some 200 Tibetans, who are native of the area but are currently living in exile here, have come together to form “April 14 Yushu Earthquake Relief Committee” to help people devastated by the recent 6.9-magnitude earthquake that killed hundreds and left thousands more homeless and injured.
The committee began collecting donations at the McLeod Ganj square in Dharamsala, the exile hometown of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, from Tuesday.
“This is an all-volunteer effort committed to raising funds to send directly to Yushu for a period spanning two months from now,” said Nyima Tsering, a Buddhist monk and head of the disaster-relief committee.
“It is a temporary relief committee set up solely to support the earthquake recovery efforts and it will cease to exist in two months time from now,” he added.
Tsering and his team members appealed for all Tibetans and supporters to contribute any designated amount to help the people who lost homes, friends and family members in the earthquake. He said in forming the committee, the members had considered all necessary steps to ensure effective, accountable, and timely financial support to those families in the earthquake affected area.
“As natives of the region, we are doing our part. Responding to this kind of disaster is work of all of us. And in difficult times like these, we want to convey that we stand united with them,” Tsering said.
Tsering said the committee would also organise regular prayer services for the victims.
The Kashag, the executive body of Central Tibetan Administration, has officially urged the exile Tibetan community, including monasteries, co-operatives, foundations or trusts around the world, to contribute through the committee.
In addition, there are other Tibetan bodies, including the Tibetan Youth Congress, the largest NGO in the exile Tibetan community, that have taken the initiative to contribute to the Yushu earthquake relief efforts.
In a press statement issued on Saturday, TYC announced its willingness to send emergency relief team to Yushu or send funds through its representatives or any reliable international organisation.
Meanwhile, Voice of Tibet (VOT), a prominent Tibetan radio news service announced a message line service that will enable listeners to convey their message of “support and solidarity” to the people of Kyegudo on shortwave radio to Tibet.
“We want to basically give a platform for Tibetans and other sympathisers to convey their messages to the victims of the earthquake, rescue workers and aid agencies. With the facility at our disposal this is a small gesture on our part,” says Karma Yeshi, VOT’s Editor-in-Chief. (For the service, listeners can call VOT at +91 1892 222384 or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org)
To make donation to the April 14 Yushu Earthquake Relief Committee, contact: Yushuemail@example.com, or call +91 9736 254 543, 9882 297 858, 9882 034 798