Friday, December 31, 2004

Mississippians recount the tsunami tragedy - and others reach out to those in need

State newspapers have been busy collecting firsthand accounts from Mississippians who were in various countries affected by the tsunami. Susan and Scott Sweat were in Thailand. Joe Miller of Ocean Springs and Doug Pardue of Prentiss were in Cochin, India - wives spoke to the Sun Herald and the men spoke to Kevin Walters of The Hattiesburg American. (Kevin and I were in graduate school together - and we both survived years of teaching Freshman Comp!)

Mississippians are also busy finding ways to help the many victims. The Central Mississippi Red Cross Chapter has been flooded with calls from people who want to go and help in person. (Volunteers would need extensive training, a minimum three-month commitment without pay, passports and specialized immunizations, said the Red Cross, encouraging folks to volunteer at the local level instead.)

Several groups are collecting funds and supplies:
- The Indian Association of Mississippi (no Web site found)
- Catholic Charities, (601) 355-8634
- Kannan Nagarajan of Ridgeland, an engineer, says he can't sit back and do nothing as the death toll rises. He is heading a relief drive in the Mississippi Indian community. The goal is to raise $25,000. A tsunami-Asia disaster relief-Mississippi account has been set up at SouthTrust Bank branch in Flowood, he said. Nagarajan said he has donated $1,000 to the fund.
- International aid organizations are accepting donations to help victims of the powerful earthquake and resulting tsunamis that caused widespread destruction and deaths in parts of South Asia and East Africa.



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