In an effort to aid Indian communities devastated by last Friday”s earthquake, which is now reported to have caused as many as 20,000 deaths, several University student groups have joined forces to help collect donations.

Paul Wong
Women line up for relief aid yesterday in Bhuj, a town in India which was devastated by last week”s earthquake.<br><br>AP PHOTO

The University community includes 450 students from India as well as hundreds of American-Indian students with many family and friends living in India.

Rajeeva Kumar, a graduate student in aerospace engineering and member of the University”s chapter of the Association for India”s Development is a native of one of the hardest hit areas and still has a close friend living in the region.

“My best friend lives in Ahmedadab and I have absolutely no news of her or her family all Friday I was waiting for news but none came,” Kumar said.

Communication between the effected cities and the outside world is difficult due to extensive damage to area phone lines.

“A very strange feeling of eeriness, a fear of hearing something extremely unpleasant has gripped most of us. It is difficult to describe that fear in words,” Kumar said.

AID began its relief efforts on Friday shortly after it received news of the earthquake. The organization placed donation jars at Cafe Java, Espresso Royale Caffe and Ethnic Creations.

In addition to its collection efforts, AID will hold several charity events later this month.

Tanvi Parki, another student with family in Amedabad, has also been helping with the collection efforts. “We are looking to channel funds to organizations which are going to work for the long term relief measures,” Parki said.

The Indian Student Association and Indian American Student Association have organized a base on campus. The two groups will be accepting donations from 3 to 5 p.m. today through Thursday in Room 4302 of the Michigan Union.

Several of the most needed supplies are warm clothes and blankets, candles, matches, non-perishable food products and simple medical supplies such aspirin, soap and bandages.

Although the groups do not yet have a final total on the amount of money and supplies donated since Friday, the support from the University community has been strong.

“Everyone has been pulling there weight, but obviously we can do a lot more,” LSA freshman Deven Desai said.

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