U of M dedicated to Chile relief, quake survivor speaks

Inside the University of Manitoba’s University Center, Tatiana Crawford, a Manitoban of Chilean descent and a Chilean earthquake survivor, spoke to a group of reporters about her experience living through the earthquake that shook Chile on Feb. 27.

Crawford, who arrived back to Winnipeg a week ago, spoke at a press conference on March 15 for the Raise the Roof Party for the People of Chile, an event organized by the same group of people who managed to raise over $25,000 for Haitian relief on the U of M campus.

Sheila Martens, academic coordinator at the U of M’s faculty of engineering, is one of the coordinators of the Raise the Roof fundraiser. She said that the event was specifically put on to “create an awareness of what has happened in Chile, as well as to raise support.”

Crawford herself agreed, saying that Chilean people have “no water, no electricity and no food,” pointing out that every donation and attempt to raise awareness helps.

“I just want to get the word out,” said Crawford.

She also touched on the fact that even though some students may not be in the financial situation to donate money, getting the word out is one of the key elements to providing relief.

“Students in general are people who are struggling to go to school,” said Crawford. “So their best form of support is to put the word out.”

Despite the fact that the fundraiser has sold the majority of the tickets for the event, Martens indicated that there was a decrease in the amount of sponsors who could donate as most have recently donated to Haitian relief.

“I’ve contacted sponsors and they’ve said they’re currently really tapped out,” said Martens.
When asked about the importance of raising awareness about the disaster in Chile, Martens touched on how the public has ignored the earthquake.

“I think they’ve ignored the fact of what’s happening in Chile,” said Martens, touching on how she feels the public and the government could do more to “step up to the plate” when it comes to Chilean relief.

“We’re working really hard and I’m sure the government is working hard too, but lets not forget that there are people in need,” she continued.

Currently all of the donations and money raised by the Raise the Roof Party for the People of Chile will be going towards the Canadian Red Cross in order to help quake survivors.

Sid Rashid, University of Manitoba Students’ Union president, told reporters that students have a part to play in Manitoba’s Chilean relief effort, adding, “We’re not going to quit.”

Martens explained that currently there are over 500,000 people without homes and in need of aid.

The event is scheduled for March 20 and tickets are $15 dollars each. All donations go to Red Cross. The Winnipeg Free Press reported that tickets could be purchased by calling 770-7191 or 899-2056.