Sussex students and staff raise £10,000 for Japan earthquake and tsunami relief

Japanese students fundraising for victims of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami

Students and staff at the University of Sussex have managed to raise nearly £10,000 in just four days to support the relief effort launched in the aftermath of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami.

There are currently 100 Japanese undergraduate and postgraduate students studying at Sussex, some of whom know people living in the worst-hit areas of Japan.

The students decided to set up a Sussex branch of the Japan Earthquake Relief Fund, a national organization of Japanese students studying in the UK. The four-day campus-based fundraising drive raised £9,228.

The Japanese students at Sussex have also launched a Facebook group to show their support for their country and to update followers on their fundraising activities. Fundraising has now moved into Brighton following the end of term, and the local campaign has been rename Support for Japan.Full details are posted on the students' Facebook page.

One student fundraiser said on Facebook: "Thank you very much, our friends. We have finished our fundraising activity on campus, where on our last day £1,108.30 was donated.  Thank you so much for your cooperation. Your support certainly helps people who are suffering following the earthquake and tsunami. We are going to do our best to overcome this disaster. Thank you to those who have donated, who are worried about our family and friends, who helped our fund-raising, and who were thinking about Japan. Also, I appreciate our university giving us warm support. Thank you so much. You warmed our hearts."

The money raised will go to the Japanese Red Cross, and other aid charities, to help with vital emergency relief as the country continues to suffer aftershocks and struggles to come to terms with the loss of thousands of lives amidst flood damage, food and power shortages and in worsening weather.

The Japanese Red Cross has been working on the ground since the disaster began, mobilising 85 teams, made up of more than 700 doctors, nurses and support staff, to provide first aid and healthcare and assess the damage and needs of the communities affected.

More than 500,000 people have been evacuated and are being housed in temporary centres set up in schools and public buildings where the Red Cross is distributing thousands of blankets.

The University's International and Study Abroad Office (ISAO) is supporting students who are far from home and concerned about family and friends. Staff have met with or emailed all Japanese students at Sussex to offer support, including counseling and access to phones to contact family and friends as the crisis continues and help with fundraising activities.

The University's Chapel in the Meeting House has established a small candle-lit shrine, so that students can spend a quiet moment in contemplation or prayer in memory of victims of the earthquake and tsunami.

Two Sussex students were also in Japan at the time of the earthquake and tsunami.  They have been provided with assistance to return home for the time being.

Pro-Vice-Chancellor International Professor Chris Marlin says: "These are desperately worrying days for our Japanese students, who are far from home in a time of crisis. However, they have showed great fortitude in uniting with fellow students and staff on campus to do something positive. The University will continue to support our students, whether here or in Japan, in whatever way we can as the crisis continues."

Notes for editors

The International & Study Abroad Office provides services to international students who are applying to Sussex and those already studying at the University, and administers exchange programmes between Sussex and its partner institutions in North and South America and Europe (including those under SOCRATES/ERASMUS).  

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Last updated: Monday, 21 March 2011