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Campus organizations help pick up pieces

This item originally appeared in the January 13, 2005 issue of The Tech Talk.

It was quite a shock to the system to hear the news on the day after Christmas; the initial numbers were a little muddled and turned out to be a gross underestimation of the actual fatalities.

Over 150,000 people lost their lives at the hand of nature's cruel and fickle judgment.

The strongest earthquake to hit the world in 40 or more years targeted Sumatra over our Christmas holiday, causing waves up to 30 feet high to make landfall in areas surrounding the Indian Ocean.

According to, the force of the event is comparable to a million atomic bombs, and is believed by geologists to have shifted the affected area islands by a whopping 60 feet.

Geologists say earthquakes of the magnitude required to cause such devastation are mercifully rare in terms of the human life span, but are geologically rather commonplace.

Massive flooding and images of rivers of debris flowing through the streets of countries from the other side of the globe have inundated our news media, making headlines every day for the past two straight weeks.

Dr. Gary Zumwalt, an associate professor of geosciences, said the effects of the disaster are far-reaching.

"Not even the public can imagine the effects [of this tsunami]," Zumwalt said.

On top of the hundreds of thousands of lost lives caused by the literal wall of water, millions of vulnerable people in the Indian Ocean coastal areas and even further inland have lost their homes and their livelihoods.

As Americans, we have been given a dose of mercy, when compared to the devastation unleashed across the world.

Still, inquiries after hundreds of missing Americans are still out, with about 20 confirmed American fatalities.

In a time when our world seems more splintered and selfish than ever, the event has served to unite charity organizations and countries alike in the effort to save the struggling inhabitants of the tsunami-affected region.

To date, over $5 billion have been raised in the aid and relief effort, but no donation is too small to be overlooked.

For example, here at Tech, students are coming together to organize help.

Tech's Association of Indian Students has three tables set up for Tech students to donate money to the disaster in front of Wyly Tower, the Student Center and Tolliver Hall.

"We just want to help the people who are suffering in these countries,"

Pratyush Kunar, a member of the association of Indian students and a graduate student of computer science, said.

Kunar said the money Tech students donate will go to the Direct Relief International in Santa Barbara, Calif.

"The money will go to basic needs and necessities for the survivors of the tsunami," Kunar said.

The Student Government Association and Louisiana Tech Campus Ministries are also trying to raise money for the relief efforts for the next week or so, which gives ample opportunity for Tech students and faculty alike to lend aid wherever they may be able.

It is the sign of a noble and advanced society to come together when an unknown suffering plagues a people far removed from our own country.

Let us make ourselves stand out by giving as much as can be spared to ease the pain of a disaster that, up to this point, dwarfs our own heartache.

Imagine yourself where some of those parents without children, children without parents and families without homes are right now.

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