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Raising awareness—and money—for South Asia earthquake victims

One month after South Asia's Oct. 8 earthquake, worldwide news agencies report that the estimated death toll shot up sharply to 87,350 following a new count of Pakistan's casualties.

Yet there is little mention on 24-hour cable stations of the tragic aftermath of the natural disaster, and even less awareness on the Lehigh campus, according to several professors and students who are banding together to raise awareness of the massive humanitarian crisis.

“This tragedy has been lost amid the other news items of the day and other natural disasters this year, at home and abroad,” says Robert Rozehnal, assistant professor of religion studies and head of Lehigh’s Islamic studies program. “It’s a desperate situation, and Lehigh students can help make a difference and save lives.”

Rozehnal and students Ali Bachani, a junior computer science and business major from Pakistan, and senior Syed Zaidi, are attempting to accomplish just that through the organization of a lecture at noon Thursday in Maginnes 101, as well several other fundraising opportunities.

Featured speakers at the free, public lecture will include Rozehnal and Raj Menon, professor of international relations; Amardeep Singh, assistant professor of English; and Peter Zeitler, professor of earth and environmental sciences.

In addition, Bachani and Zaidi have already raised nearly $1,000 through student groups and organizations, and through donations collected at Lehigh events.

“We’re also starting up a general collection drive for donations at various dorms,” Bachani says. “This has been made possible by individual students and friends who volunteered to accept donations at their rooms and apartments.”

For more information about the lecture and about opportunities to donate to earthquake victims, please call (610) 758-3353.

--Linda Harbrecht

Posted on Wednesday, November 09, 2005

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