UW News

January 6, 2005

Money currently the best aid for tsunami-ravaged areas

UW News

Cash is the best type of donation just now for the areas ravaged by the Dec. 26 tsunamis, according to a UW faculty member heavily involved in international relief efforts. And as the numbers of dead mount and threats of disease increase, more help than ever will be needed.

Beth Rivin is a research associate professor with the School of Law and holds an adjunct appointment with the School of Public Health and Community Medicine. She is also director of health programs for Uplift International, a global nonprofit agency founded in 1997 that provides humanitarian aid and health assistance in developing nations around the world.

“It’s very important that people realize that donating commodities is not what is needed right now,” Rivin said Monday. “It seems that there are enough commodities at the moment.” Donations of cash, she said, remain critically needed.

At the time of the powerful undersea earthquake and the massive tsunamis that followed and washed away well over 100,000 lives, Rivin was just two weeks back from a working trip to Indonesia for Uplift. “We were listening to the news and realized we had to respond and help our partners and colleagues and friends, and we have the capacity to provide emergency relief, so we began to prepare for that.”

Working together with partner organization Project HOPE, Uplift is preparing to send its first shipment — tons of urgently needed medicine and medical supplies valued at close to $1.5 million to Indonesia.

Rivin said Uplift “desperately needs money and support,” and is partnering with the Indonesian Doctors Association to send needed physicians to Sumatra, an island which alone suffered more than 94,000 deaths.

Rivin also is a member of the advisory board of the UW’s new interdisciplinary program on humanitarian relief, which was started last year by the Marc Lindenberg Center for Humanitarian Action, International Development and Global Citizenship at the Evans School of Public Affairs. The new humanitarian relief program is a cooperative project between the Evans School and the College of Engineering which prepares students for careers managing relief operations in complex emergencies such as the South Asian earthquake and tsunami.

The Lindenberg Center will co-sponsor a benefit concert to raise money for tsunami victims at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 12, at Seattle’s Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave. Tickets will be $25, $50 and $75. Town Hall also is a co-sponsor of the event, but additional sponsors are joining the effort as the days go by. The benefit will be titled “From Seattle With Love,” and will feature performers who represent the music and dance traditions from several of the countries hardest hit by the disaster.

Agencies and governments worldwide are collecting monetary donations to help tsunami victims. On campus, the Indian Student Association, the Middle Eastern Student Association, the South Asian Student Association and campus sororities are teaming up to staff a booth outside the HUB from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. this week and possibly into the next, soliciting help.

Rivin is working both days and nights, handling calls and concerns from halfway around the world. She said she believes the ghastly total of the dead will continue to rise, as there are villages in Sumatra and elsewhere that relief workers haven’t accessed yet.

“From my understanding,” Rivin said, “there hasn’t been anything like this for 200 years. This is beyond what we have or our grandparents have experienced.”

Most newspapers, television channels, search engines and public agencies are listing ways people can donate. Uplift International can be found at www.upliftinternational.org.

Here is a list of 10 other major relief agencies, and their contact information:

Benefit concert planned

Local and international talents will take the stage at Seattle’s Town Hall for a special benefit concert to aid victims of the devastating Dec. 26 South Asian tsunami. The concert will be at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 12 at Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave.

“From Seattle With Love: A Benefit Concert for Tsunami Relief” will include musicians and dancers representing areas ravaged by the tsunami. Performers will include: Indian classical dancer Joyce Paul, the Chao Praya Ensemble, performing music of Thailand; internationally known Balinese musician and UW visiting guest artist I Wayan Sinti; and the Somali Youth Leader Program. More personalities and names are added to the list each day. Craig Sheppard, musician and UW professor of piano, and radio personality Dave Ross are the most recent additions to the lineup.

As a Pacific Rim city, Seattle has a special relationship with many of the countries hardest hit by the earthquake and tsunamis. “From Seattle With Love: A Benefit Concert for Tsunami Relief” is made possible through generous support from Microsoft Corp. and is presented in association with the UW’s Marc Lindenberg Center for Humanitarian Action, International Development and Global Citizenship, and KUOW-FM.

Tickets for the concert are $25, $50 and $75, and are available in advance from www.ticketweb.com or at the door.