In response to the devastating Tsunamis that assaulted the coastal regions of South and South East Asia, South Asian Americans are trying to get past the worry and grief and move on to the task of getting aid to the victims. From NJ.com:
“Nothing happened to my family, thank God,” said Balija, who is president of the Hindu American Temple & Cultural Center in Morganville [NJ]. “A lot of fishermen live near the sea . … They don’t even know what they lost. It’s unbelievable. It’s very devastating.”
Balija said members of his temple would meet to determine what resources should be sent to victims. Meanwhile, other organizations were beginning to organize their rescue efforts yesterday.
“We are very much concerned and sorry about this,” said Pradip “Peter” Kothari, president of the Indian Business Association and Indo-American Cultural Society in New Jersey. “We have to talk to the different organizations and temples and figure out what is the best way to react.”
The San Jose Mercury News also reports [reg. required] on the beginnings of an aid effort:
[Lata] Patil, active with the Indian Community Center in Milpitas [CA], said she also planned on contacting other community members to begin coordinating aid. Others were trying to reach relief organizations such as the Red Cross to help.
White House officials said relief efforts were already under way to help people in Sri Lanka and the Maldives, a string of 1,192 coral atolls off the southwestern coast of India. Other countries would also receive aid as the extent of the disaster becomes clear, officials said. President Bush expressed his condolences Sunday to disaster victims.
“We’re working on ways to help,” said U.S. State Department official Noel Clay. “The United States will be very responsive.”
If you would like to help, a good place to start is to visit the Red Cross Website:
You can help those affected by this crisis and countless others around the world each year by making a financial gift to the American Red Cross International Response Fund, which will provide immediate relief and long-term support through supplies, technical assistance, and other support to those in need. Call 1-800-HELP NOW or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish). Contributions to the International Response Fund may be sent to your local American Red Cross chapter or to the American Red Cross International Response Fund, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.
In addition, here is a link to the website of the Sri Lanka Association of Greater Washington, which is collecting donations. Sri Lanka was reportedly the hardest hit area.
Update: Manish and others inform me of this EXCELLENT blog that has popped up specifically to address this crisis.