Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Canadians For Tsunami Relief: Press Conference

What: A number of local community organizations have joined forces to form Canadians for Tsunami Relief to help raise funds for international aide organizations with their work in disaster relief for the affected countries in the tsunami crisis.

Ms. Gloria Fung, Vice Chair of CTR
~ Moderator of the conference

Dr. Joseph Wong, Chair of CTR
~ Chair of Yee Hong Community Wellness Foundation and Yee Hong Centre for Geriatric Care
The reason for the project and the functions of those involved

Representative from Canadian Red Cross and Oxfam Canada
The needs of the affected countries and populations, and their needs to carry out the relief efforts

Mr. David Hui, Treasurer of CTR
~ President of Rotary Club of York
Accountability and the distribution of funds raised

Ms. Pauline Tong, Spokesperson of Executive Committee, CTR
~ President of Yee Hong Community Wellness Foundation
Telethon and media arrangement

Ms. Judy Yeung, Leader of Telethon Committee, CTR
~ Bell Canada
Call centre arrangements, volunteer training

Ms. Elisabeth Sulistio, Volunteer Recruitment, CTR
~ Canadians Concerned about Ethnic Violence in Indonesia (CCEVI)
Appeal for volunteer recruitment, number and types of volunteers needed

Mr. Eric Li, Leader of Street/Mall Donation, CTR
~ President, Canada-Hong Kong Link
Number of malls and locations covered, security measures

Mr. Lawrence Yu, Vice Chair, CTR
~ President of Chinese Professionals Association of Canada (CPAC)
Appeal for public support

Mr. Tony Wong, MPP, Markham
Appeal for Canadian Support

When: Wednesday, January 5, 2005 ~ 10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

Where: Yee Hong Centre - Scarborough McNicoll, 2311 Midland Avenue, Scarborough, Ontario


News Release

For Immediate Release

Canadians for Tsunami Relief - Transcending Geographical Boundaries

January 5, 2005 (TORONTO) - In response to the tsunami crisis in South Asia, many local businesses, ethnic communities and social organizations have joined forces to form Canadians for Tsunami Relief to raise funds for Canadian Red Cross and Oxfam Canada for disaster relief in affected countries including Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, Maldives, and Malaysia.

Chaired by Dr. Joseph Y.K. Wong, Canadians for Tsunami Relief (CTR) was formed in response to the tsunami crisis in South Asia. Funds raised will be equally distributed to Canadian Red Cross and Oxfam Canada for their disaster relief efforts. The goal is to raise as much funds as possible before January 11, 2005, to match Government of Canada's dollar-for-dollar-match deadline. The main fundraising strategy is a telethon that is to be held through major Canadian television outlets during the weekend of january 8, 2005. Till January 11, 2005, CTR will also hold various fundraising initiatives, including donation solicitatios at local malls and shopping centres, as well as donation appeals through various broadcast, electronic and print media outlets.

To support CTR for this crisis relief initiative, the public is encouraged to donated to TD Canada Trust bank account number 532-521-1313, or make cheque payable to "CTR". Announcements regarding television stations airing the telethon and program times will be made through major mainstream and ethnic media outlets. Donation hotlines 1-866-444-8993 and 416-296-9595 will be available during the telethon and multilingual volunteers will be ready to receive calls.

Dr. Joseph Y.K. Wong, Chair of CTR, Yee Hong Community Wellness Foundation and Yee Hong Centre for Geriatric Care, believes that "in the multicultural society of Canada, while we count our blessings and take good care of our local communities, we should also extend our helping hands to those beyond the artificial borders. The crisis has already affected an unimaginable number of victims. If appropriate help is not provided at this critical time, the number of affected individuals will grow exponentially. I am pelading to Canadians of all backgrounds to dig deeper into our pockets to address the national and also international needs."

50% of the total proceeds raised by CTR will go to the Canadian Red Cross, whose mission is to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity in Canada and around the world. The other 50% will go to Oxfam Canada, a non-profit international development organization founded in 1963 that supports community programs in food security, health, nutrition and democratic development with an emphasis on working with women. Canadian Tsunami Relief is a registered non-profit organization formed by local community organizations to raise funds for disaster relief of the tsunami crisis in South Asia.

Anna V. Wong
Media & Communications
(416) 321-0777 ext. 1840

Canadians for Tsunami Relief - Organizational Structure

Chair: Dr. Joseph Y.K. Wong
Vice Chairs: Gloria Fung & Lawrence Yu
Treasurer: David Hui
Executive Committee Spokesperson: Pauline Tong
Telethon & Volunteer Recruitment Committee Spokesperson: Elisabeth Sulistio
Street/Mall Donation Committee Spokesperson: Eric Li

Supporting Organizations

  • Association of Chinese Students and Scholars at York University
  • Bell Canada
  • Buddhist Light International Association
  • Canada-Hong Kong Link (CHKL)
  • Canada-Hong Kong Link-Vision Youth
  • Canada-Shanghai Business Association
  • Canadians Concerned about Ethnic Violence in Indonesia (CCEVI)
  • Canadians Multicultural Links Association
  • Canadian Chinese Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Association
  • Chinese Canadian National Council (CCNC)
  • Chinese Canadian National Council Toronto Chapter
  • Chinese Canadian National Council York Region Chapter
  • Chinese Professional Women of Canada
  • Chinese Professionals Association of Canada (CPAC)
  • Dattan International Inc.
  • Japanese Cultural Centre
  • Karuna Community Services of the Buddhist Communities of Greater Toronto
  • Mississauga Board of Chinese Professionals & Businesses
  • North Chinese Community of Canada
  • Ontario Indonesian Chinese Association
  • Rotary Club of York
  • Sing Fai Sports Club
  • Sound of Hope
  • The Canadian Chinese Finance Association
  • The United Nations Association in Canada, Toronto Region Branch
  • United Indonesian Canadian Society (UNICAS)
  • University of Toronto Association of Chinese Students and Scholars
  • Yan Yan Tang
  • Yee Hong Centre for Geriatric Care
  • Yee Hong Community Well ness Foundation

CCEVI Press Release

Canadians Concerned about Ethnic Violence in Indonesia (CCEVI) was formed in June 1998, in the wake of the May riots under the Suharto's regime. CCEVI is dedicated to end human rights violation and discrimination in Indonesia.

In the midst of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, CCEVI realizes that the catastrophic natural disaster has affected the whole world. While Indonesia, India, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, and Thailand bear the brunt of this tragedy; tremors, minor flooding, and casualties were also reported from countries and islands around the Indian Ocean, such as Maldives, Myanmar, even Somalia in Africa and parts of Australia.

As the bodies are recovered, Indonesia's Ministry of Health so far confirmed about 94,000 dead mainly in the northern province of Aceh on the Sumatra Island. The latest news estimated that up to 400,000 people may be dead in villages that "show no signs of life." The gross number of casualties and the magnitude of crashed infrastructures have made Indonesia the hardest hit country.

Since CCEVI has been working for human rights in Indonesia, we are aware that the resource-rich province in the far western part of Indonesia has been suffering from conflict between the government and the armed separatist group namely Free Aceh Movement (GAM) since 1976. On May 19, 2004 Aceh was put under civil emergency, sealed from the outside world, after a year of martial law in the region. Due to this condition neither NGOs nor foreign journalists were allowed to work in Aceh until the tsunami disaster. This was why the media exposures of the casualties and grave conditions in Aceh came much later after media exposures of other hard-hit countries in the regions.

Even though foreign and local humanitarian NGOs are now allowed to do volunteer work, there is still a great deal of chaos because of several factors:

  1. Most of the civil servants in the province were killed by the tsunami;
  2. Military personnel still have the duty to 'maintain security' with regards to the state's conflict with GAM and thus control almost everything;
  3. Basic utilities in the devastated areas such as hydro, water and telephone lines are neither in operations nor have been restored.
These factors have further delayed the distribution and transportation of foreign relief efforts. To learn that the locally organized humanitarian workers/volunteers have shown constant goodwill in bringing relief to Aceh only lends fragile comfort. These victims desperately need immediate foreign aids.

In light of the current situation, CCEVI remains seriously concerned about the welfare of the Acehnese, first being trampled of their human rights due to the ongoing conflict between the military and GAM, and now to face this disastrous impact of tsunami. As news continues to break, it becomes a grim reality that not only fatal casualties were in the hundreds of thousands, but also potential fatalities of the survivors due to the spread of diseases and due to injuries that have not been treated. In addition, internally-displaced people who have lost everything are in the millions.

Compelled by our objective to contribute to the lessening of the suffering of Indonesian citizens as a result of poverty, natural disasters, and ethnic conflicts, CCEVI made no hesitation to join the Canadian Tsunami Relief. Today we come together with other Canadians to endorse this fundraising effort and to show our support and solidarity to victims of this earthquake and tsunami.

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