Students help Chinese separated by storms

By By Jaime Winston

By Jaime Winston

The Chinese Students and Scholars Association at the U is raising money to connect families that have been separated by unusual snowstorms in China.

The association has raised about $8,500 since Feb. 2 and has received a $2,000 pledge from a U professor.

The group will donate the funds to the Red Cross Society of China, which will help those who have lost electricity and access to transportation in 17 provinces. The snowstorms hit the southern part of the country where snow is relatively unusual.

Some workers in Northern China have not been able to see their families in the Southern provinces due to the raging snowstorms.

“It’s just in time for our new year, the most important period of the whole year,” said Chenyuan Lu, a graduate student in parks, recreation and tourism.

At her home in China, her grandmother is taken care of by a nanny, who is from a Southern province and cannot return to her own home for the Spring Festival because of the storm, she said.

Li Sun, vice president of the association, is resolute in her plan to help reconnect families like Lu’s because most were separated by the snowstorms before celebrating the Chinese New Year, which began on Feb. 7.

“We want to get it there as quick as possible,” said Sun, who is a graduate student in pharmaceutics. “We set out to raise this money because it’s our country and we’re really concerned about the people.”

There are approximately 80 million people being affected by the snowstorm, which began about a week and a half ago and has caused $100 million in damage. So far, the storms have stranded hundreds of thousands and killed 24 others, according to Associated Press reports.

“It’s like the movie, ‘The Day After Tomorrow.’ Everything is in the ice,” said Shaohua Lei, a doctoral student in political science. “Cables are broken, and buildings have crashed because of this ice.”

However, Lei said the funds from the association’s efforts would reassure the people who have been affected by the snowstorms.

“Although we are in a foreign country, we want our people to know we’re doing something for them and that people in the United States also want to help them,” Lei said.

Wenqi Zhu, a U graduate student in electrical and computer engineering, is from the Southern city of Nanchung. Most of the news he gets about the snowstorm comes from his family, who has gone without running water because the pipes in their building are frozen. Instead, water is collected downstairs where it is distributed among the residents in the building.

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