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Campus group to send aid to India

Jan. 31, 2001

ISSA planning to collect at least $2,000 to donate

By CAROLINE DANGLES

Reporter

A deadly earthquake of a 6.9 magnitude on the Richter scale devastated the Indian province of Gujarat last Friday. The quake looks to be one of the most fatal earthquake disasters of this century.

For Baylor students who have relatives or friends living in India and tried to get in touch with them, the disaster is a constant worry.

Telephone lines are down.

'This weekend, I tried to call my grandparents for 5 hours,' Roma Shah, a Carrolton senior, said. 'Just a busy signal.'

According to the local authorities in India, thousands of people have already died and others are still missing. However, a few of Baylor's Indian families are safe for the moment.

'So far, we don't have any [deaths],' Shah said.

Nonetheless, many students who have acquaintances living there are still trying to figure out if they are alive.

Rachna Patel, a Beaumont junior, said that some of her mother's friends living there miraculously avoided harm.

'Everything collapsed around them, and now they are afraid to sleep in their apartment,' she said.

Some students are finding a way to help those overseas.

'First, my heart sank. I was anxious to get started to do something,' Shah said.

Other students within the Indian Subcontinent Student Association are mobilizing. Members met on Tuesday evening to discuss about how to help.

'We're gonna raise money,' said Shah, who is also the president of the association.

Donation boxes will be placed in the Bill Daniel Student Center by Thursday, Moody Memorial Library and the dorms. Money will be sent no later than two weeks to the Lions Club in India.

'Every penny counts right now,' said Shah, who expects to collect a minimum of $2,000.

'Everything makes a difference right now,' Noureen Dhanani, a junior from Orlando, Fla., said.

'My family sent clothes and food over there and they will go as soon as the situation gets more stable.'

Death tolls are rising every hour. The preliminary estimates were 20,000 deaths, but according to the Indian defense minister, George Fernandes, the number of deaths could be as high as 100,000.

For donation, contact the Indian Subcontinent Student Association at 754-3546 or send your money to the ISSA, PO Box 8-5629, Waco, TX, 76798-5629.

Volunteers will meet at 9 tonight in the Beckham Room of the Bill Daniel Student Center to stuff donation request envelopes.