Chinese community pitches in with $40,000 for victims of quake
5:00AM Wednesday July 30, 2008
By Lincoln Tan
A $40,000 cheque towards relief efforts for victims of China's devastating May earthquake from Auckland's local-born Chinese community has come as a welcome surprise to the Red Cross after donations to the cause had reduced to a trickle.
"China's earthquake seems a long time ago with the Olympics hogging the headlines," said Kelly Mitchell, spokeswoman for the New Zealand Red Cross.
"But the need is still great, and the recovery for victims will take longer than most people's memories. It will take years for most to rebuild their lives."
New Zealanders donated $270,000 in the first three weeks after the earthquake, but Ms Mitchell said the donations had since stopped.
The earthquake in China's Sichuan province killed nearly 70,000 people and many thousands are still missing, presumed dead.
More than 30 million people lost most of their assets and millions of farm animals died after the quake, and survivors have also lost their means to make a living.
A United Nations report last month estimated the damage at US$6 billion ($8 billion) to the region's agriculture sector alone.
Kai Luey, national president of the New Zealand Chinese Association, said the $40,000 was raised from groups "representing the long-term Chinese residents in Auckland" at a dinner last month.
Mr Luey said: "We, the older Chinese community still care about the devastating effect that the disaster caused our compatriots in Sichuan, and we hope the donation would be a meaningful contribution to the relief funds."
The cheque will be presented to Kaye Jensen, Auckland's Red Cross manager, tomorrow.
Ms Mitchell said the donation from Auckland's Chinese community was timely.