This message is being sent on behalf of the Office of the
I am writing in the aftermath of the recent earthquake in
China, to ask for your assistance, and to advise you of the
initiatives the broader Chinese community of Winnipeg is
undertaking to help the survivors of this tragedy.
As many of you are aware, an earthquake of magnitude 8.0 -
first reported as 7.8 - hit the province of Sichuan, China,
on Monday, May 12. As of May 19, the death toll had reached
34,000 and more than 250,000 were injured. These numbers are
expected to rise rapidly in the days to come.
Beichuan, a small town at the epicenter of the earthquake,
was flattened in seconds. Thousands of students lost their
lives in school on that Monday afternoon. The devastation
and deaths are of such magnitude that the Government of
China has declared three days of national mourning, the
first ever in the Chinese history.
We have all read stories of natural disasters and sometimes
it is hard to comprehend destruction and devastation that is
located far away. For many of our students, faculty and
staff, however, this tragedy is all too real. Sichuan
Province is home to many international students at the
University of Manitoba, and several of our professors have
their hometowns within 200 km of the epicenter. Furthermore
Sichuan University is a sister university of the University
of Manitoba, and Winnipeg is a sister city of Chengdu, the
capital of Sichuan Province.
Dr. Feiyue Wang, a member of our Department of Environment
and Geography as well as the Department of Chemistry, and
Chair of the Manitoba Chinese Tribune, has advised me that
the Chinese and Chinese-Canadian communities of Winnipeg are
co-coordinating efforts to provide care and support to the
victims of this earthquake. A major benefit performance is
planned for May 25 at the Canad Inns - Polo Park. I am
attaching the poster describing this event for your
information. Your attendance would be most appreciated.
If you would like to make a donation, please make your
cheque payable to the Canadian Red Cross, earmarked "China
Earthquake". You may drop the cheque at the event venue, or
at the Winnipeg Chinese Cultural and Community Centre, or
mail it directly to the Canadian Red Cross National Office,
170 Metcalfe, Suite 300, Ottawa, ON K2P, 2P2. If you wish,
you may donate directly with your credit cards at
www.redcross.ca <http://www.redcross.ca/> .
Most importantly, do not forget that our University has many
Chinese students, scholars of Chinese origin, and friends of
Chinese ancestry in the community. A friendly smile would
help them immeasurably, as would an inquiry about their
families and friends. Whatever their circumstances, it will
help them to know that though they may be far from home,
here they are not alone.
Emőke Szathmáry, Ph.D.
President and Vice-Chancellor