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October 12, 1998 Vol. III, No. 4

University Institute Launches China Flood Relief Effort

Close CSUN-China Ties Spur Request for Donations to Aid Flood Victims

The China Institute at Cal State Northridge has launched a fund-raising campaign to help flood victims in China, where record summer flooding has killed more than 3,000 people and impacted an estimated 240 million or almost one quarter of the population.

The institute, which is the spearhead for CSUN's long history of close ties with China, is seeking donations from faculty, staff and students in any amount that will be given to the Chinese consulate in Los Angeles. Donors will receive receipts for income tax purposes.

"Cal State Northridge has had a history of responding to people in need in the wake of disasters all around the world. And we probably have stronger ties with China and Chinese institutions than with any other country,'' said professor Elliot Mininberg, a member of the China Institute's board of directors.

Although the heaviest flooding from July to September has now passed, authorities in China have estimated that it may take two months for flood waters to completely recede. One major relief organization recently estimated that 2.9 million people may be living in temporary shelters atop failed dikes.

The official toll from the flooding, considered some of China's worst in recorded history, includes more than $20 billion in damage, 5 million homes destroyed and another 12 million damaged, 14 million people evacuated from their homes, and 23 million head of livestock perished.

Even as the flood waters recede, one of the growing concerns is the potential for disease and epidemics, especially in densely populated rural areas. In China's last great flood of 1954, an estimated 30,000 people died from flooding but many more died from disease thereafter, Mininberg said.

The university's ties to China include formal relationships with about 25 educational institutions there and regular exchanges of visiting scholars, including more than 20 from China now at Northridge. CSUN President Blenda J. Wilson also led a university delegation to China in October 1996.

The China Institute launched the fund-raising effort by dedicating $1,000 of its earnings to the relief effort along with another $1,000 allocation from another group. Donations can be sent to: China Institute-Flood Relief, Cal State Northridge, Northridge, CA 91330-8342.

Mininberg, chair of the educational leadership and policy studies department in the College of Education, said the fund-raising effort was suggested by Justine Su, the China Institute's director and a professor in the department. The group hopes to make its initial payment by Oct. 19.

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October 12, 1998

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