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May 15, 2008

Gov. Blagojevich suggests ways for Illinoisans to help victims of the Southeast Asian cyclone and West China earthquake
Gov. Blagojevich offers prayers for the victims and expresses gratitude to those who have already helped

CHICAGO — In the wake of last week’s devastating cyclone in Myanmar (formally known as Burma) and the following earthquake in Sichuan Province of the People’s Republic of China, Gov. Blagojevich offered his condolences to the victims and families who lost loved ones, especially to the Burmese and Chinese Americans in Illinois who have been tragically affected by these events. While there is no state-sponsored relief fund, the governor urged Illinois citizens to seek out reputable charities and assistance funds.

“These are horrific disasters and my heart goes out to all of the victims and families who have lost loved ones,” said Gov. Blagojevich.  “I encourage Illinois citizens to support relief efforts to help the victims as best they can.”  The cyclone that hit Myanmar last Friday had a force equal to a Category 4 hurricane and wind speed topped 150 mph in some areas. The death toll from the cyclone is expected to exceed 100,000 people, devastating entire communities and leaving hundreds of thousands without adequate food, safe water, and shelter. 

In Dujiangyan, near the Sichuan Province, the official death toll has risen to more than 19,000 with countless others still buried or missing in the worst earthquake to strike there in three decades. Numerous nations, international organizations and charities have begun massive relief efforts to assist the victims and prevent further damage. These tragedies have hit close to home for the nearly 90,000 Chinese Americans and the small but rapidly growing number of Burmese refugees in Illinois who have family and friends abroad. Some of our local social service organizations have also begun putting together efforts to help with the relief aid in these countries, including Bernarda Wong, the President of the Chinese American Service League and non-for-profit organization in Chicago’s Chinatown.  “We are all citizens of the world, and care deeply when any area suffers a natural disaster. For many of us at CASL, this is the country we came from and where we have loved ones, so we are especially grateful for this outpouring of concern. We are happy to be among the organizations helping to collect and direct funds to reach those suffering the effects of the earthquake in China,” said Bernarda Wong.

Gov. Blagojevich encourages Illinois citizens to assist victims of the South Asian cyclone and West China earthquake and suggests contacting any of the following relief agencies to determine the best way to help:

American Red Cross International Response Fund
2020 E Street NW
Washington DC  20006
(800) REDCROSS or (800) 257-7575 (Spanish)

International Rescue Committee
P.O. Box 96651
Washington, DC  20090-6651.
1-877-REFUGEE (1-877-733-8433). 

International Medical Corps
IMC Headquarters
1919 Santa Monica Blvd. Suite 400,
Santa Monica, CA 90404
(310) 826-7800  

 United Nations
125 Maiden Lane
New York, NY  10038
(800) 4UNICEF


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