WINNIPEG (CUP) — Tatiana Crawford was in Chile for last month’s disastrous earthquake and lived to come home to talk about it.
A Manitoban of Chilean descent, she spoke at a press conference on March 15 at the University of Manitoba as part of the Raise the Roof Party for the People of Chile — an event organized by the same group of people who raised over $25,000 for Haitian relief on the campus earlier this year.
Crawford pointed out from experience that the Chilean people have “no water, no electricity and no food,” noting that every donation and attempt to raise awareness helps.
“I just want to get the word out,” said Crawford.
She also touched on the fact that even though some students may not be in the financial situation to donate money, getting the word out is one of the key elements to providing relief.
“Students, in general, are people who are struggling to go to school,” said Crawford. “So their best form of support is to put the word out.”
Sheila Martens, academic co-ordinator with the University of Manitoba’s faculty of engineering, helped co-ordinate the Raise the Roof fundraiser. She said that the event was specifically put on to “create an awareness of what has happened in Chile, as well as to raise support.”
While ticket sales for Raise the Roof were strong, Martens said there was a decrease in the amount of sponsors who could donate, as most have recently donated to Haitian relief.
“I’ve contacted sponsors and they’ve said they’re currently really tapped out,” said Martens.
When asked about the importance of raising awareness about the disaster in Chile, Martens touched on how the public has ignored the earthquake.
“I think they’ve ignored the fact of what’s happening in Chile,” said Martens. She feels the public and the government could do more to “step up to the plate” when it comes to Chilean relief.
“We’re working really hard and I’m sure the government is working hard too, but let’s not forget that there are people in need.”
Currently all of the donations and money raised by the Raise the Roof Party for the People of Chile will be going towards the Canadian Red Cross in order to help quake survivors.
Sid Rashid, University of Manitoba Students’ Union president, told reporters that students have a part to play in Manitoba’s Chilean relief effort, adding, “We’re not going to quit.”
There are currently over 500,000 people without homes and in need of aid in Chile.
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