- Contributed by Henry Christopher Henry Christopher
Ichinori Tsumagari (UTS '03), Director of the International Relief Friendship Foundation, and his mentor Dr. Kathy Winings, Dean of the UTS Extension Center, are spearheading the UTS response to Hurricane Katrina.
Mr. Tsumagari reports: "We are becoming more aware daily of the magnitude of the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina. The death toll is estimated to reach more than 1,000. The threat of disease continues to grow in the unrelenting heat and growing stench. Displaced evacuees, who lost everything, can barely imagine their next step forward. Much help is needed.
UTS students have joined in the drive to collect the items on the list we have circulated. Those donations, and all money donated by UTS students, faculty and administration will be sent to the IRFF/CDR team working in Harrison County in Mississippi (see below). We are the only organizations and people working there at this time. We are feeding 9,000 and more people every day. These families and individuals have lost their homes completely and all businesses. They are living outside under tarps. We offer hot food, collected items, and are looking for shelter for them. Volunteers are working side by side with the people offering spiritual care and a ready ear. Hopefully they will have electricity next week and some businesses will be open next week.
Once things dry, the teams will cleanup the area to prepare it for the rebuilding phase.
"Mr. Richard Sapp, IRFF Director of Long-Term Recovery, is the IRFF official coordinator for this relief work and is working with local clergy as well as the CDR (Christian Disaster Response) and other agencies to provide relief. IRFF has established a warehouse where relief materials are being sent. Donations of clothing, blankets, food and household items can be dropped off at the IRFF office at UTS. Also, volunteer teams are being organized, and more volunteers are needed. They will be housed at a State Troopers Barracks.
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