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Flushing philanthropists give cash after quake

Rescuers carry an elderly quake victim from a collapsed house in Ya'an City, located in China's Sichuan Province. AP Photo/Xinhua-Le Xiao Xuan
Houses stand half-crumbled in the aftermath of a severe earthquake that struck the Sichuan Province of China last weekend. AP Photo/Xinhua-Ying Hua Liu
A man sleeps beneath plastic in the aftermath of a severe earthquake that struck the Sichuan Province of China last weekend. AP Photo/Ng Han Guan
TimesLedger Newspapers

Groups of Chinese Americans in Flushing have been gathering money and resources to help the victims of last weekend’s earthquake in Sichuan Province.

Jimmy Yi, of the Council of Chinese American Associations, a Flushing-based umbrella nonprofit representing about 20 groups, had raised more than $10,000 as of Wednesday afternoon to send to the devastated southwestern province rocked by the quake that killed 156 and injured more than 5,500 Saturday, according to an Associated Press report.

“We are just trying to express our heartfelt sympathy and do something to help those victims,” said Yi, vice chairman of the Flushing-based association.

Yi said volunteers have been out on the streets downtown soliciting donations, and they have received a strong response.

In addition, the association’s member organizations have also been donating cash, which Yi said will eventually be sent to an appropriate agency or group in China.

The quake hit at about 8 a.m. and was measured by the China Earthquake Administration at magnitude 7.0 on the Richter Scale, but the U.S. Geological Survey measured the quake at 6.6, according to AP.

The shaking ground leveled whole villages in some areas and was centered around a county also hit by a quake about five years ago, according to Yi.

“A lot of people died this time, many people were injured and many houses and buildings were torn down,” he said.

But the May 2008 quake was one of the worse natural disasters in the country’s history, with more than 90,000 people dead or missing and presumed dead, according to AP.

Last weekend’s disaster, though smaller in scale, did not deter other groups in the neighborhood from jumping into action.

A Fresh Meadows church called Chinese Christian Herald Crusades has also been gathering money and supplies, according to Director of Community Service Christina Huang, who said the parish is also hoping to send a group of volunteers to provide counseling to victims.

The church hopes to use some of the money donated to buy equipment for quake victims to rebuild their homes, something that they have done before.

In the quake five years ago, the church helped rebuilt a house of worship and some buildings in a devastated village, according to Huang.

Flushing activist Michael Chu also helped last time around, drumming up $200,000 in donations from Flushing residents to send to China.

Last week, he and volunteers up shop outside the Flushing branch of the Queens Public Library to collect donations.

By his estimates, he and volunteers had raised more than $8,000 by Wednesday afternoon.

Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at januta@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4566.

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