Call for support in the wake of devastating earthquake in Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture

In the wake of last week's devastating earthquake in China, the Dalai Lama Center for Peace and Education wishes to offer our condolences to all of those affected by this natural disaster. Further, we would like to share with you a call for support from Dr Katherine Morton, a researcher from the Australian National University who has done extensive work in the Yushu region.

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

As you may have already heard, at 8.30 am on Tuesday, April 13, a devastating earthquake (6.9 on the Richter scale) struck Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in China. Yushu is a remote mountainous region located 4000 metres above sea level. It has a population of around 270,000, largely Tibetans that are concentrated in Jeigu county town - the epicentre of the earthquake.

I have been conducting fieldwork in Yushu for over six years and have close ties with the Tibetan communities, NGOs, and government. Communications are still very difficult but I have managed to get in direct contact with the Snowland Service Group (SSG), a Tibetan NGO that has been conducting relief and development activities since 2001. The NGO is a registered legal entity and is currently operating alongside the government in its relief operations.

Reports from the field suggest that the situation is even worse than what is currently being reported in the media: around 80% of buildings have collapsed, the nearest dam has been damaged with the risk of flooding, and Trangu monastery has been heavily affected, with a very high casualty rate. There is a fear that thousands rather than hundreds will have lost their lives. Logistics are particularly difficult. There is only one road from the provincial capital Xining to Yushu that takes between 12-14 hours by car. There is currently a
major shortage of equipment to help dig for survivors as well as water, food, tents, and beddings.

On a personal level, I am sending out this appeal for donations to the relief effort to all concerned scholars and friends. All funds will be transferred to the local tibetan NGO, SSG. As I am sure you can understand, the needs are urgent and critical. At the same time, it is important to coordinate efforts and ensure accountability of funding. I have linked up with colleagues from Columbia University that have an established website for relief donations that can then be transferred to SSG. The aim is to avoid multiple foreign transactions coming into SSG accounts.

To make a donation please access the website as follows:

Could you please send a notification of your donation to my email account using the subject heading: EARTHQUAKE DONATION. Keeping an audit trail this end will lighten the administrative burden at the local level.

With kind regards,

Dr Katherine Morton
Department of International Relations
Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies
The Australian National University
ACT 0200


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