According to government forecasts, up to 3 million tents are desperately needed in the earthquake zone. Every available tent in China has been redirected to this effort, and other international donors have done their best to help as well. (Pakistan, notably, has apparently donated every tent it owns to China.)
Not satisfied with just donating money to a nameless charity, a group of US-based Chinese on MITBBS have formed a group to take direct action. They are purchasing tents in the United States and shipping them directly to Sichuan. Below is their story (文章), and an opportunity for you to help.
1.6 million homes have collapsed, and even more are unstable. The rainy season starts in June; how much more suffering must the people of Sichuan suffer? The people in the disaster zone need tents, hundreds of thousands of volunteers and military troops need tents, and tens of thousands of students headed back to school also need tents! Based on government statistics, the disaster area has an emergency need for 3 million tents. But even as all domestic tent manufacturers have moved to 24 hour shifts, they will only be able to produce nine hundred thousand (900,000) tents by June 20th.
Many overseas are hoping to donate tents to the disaster zone, but our individual efforts are weak and ineffectual. We’re a group of young people who used to be complete strangers, who have used MIBBS to join together and form a tent group. Mutual trust, mutual cooperation, we hope that we can unite and give direct help to our motherland. In order to allow these tents to more quickly reach the hands of those in the disaster area, we have put in money up front to purchase these tents. Two of our volunteers have flown to Georgia in order to pick up the tents, and then drove a rented U-HAUL 17 hours over two days and two nights to an embassy-designated warehouse in New Jersey. During this period, many volunteers have joined together to overcome various difficulties, and the tents have successfully arrived.
Based on communications with the Sichuan administration, the disaster zone most desperately needs small tents, and super-sized larger tents. We purchased 25 units of a 30-feet super-sized tents, each with a total area of 65.6 square meters (~600 square feet), and a height of 3.4 meters (~10 feet). These can be used to house refugees, or as a classroom for students.
The webpage for this tent model is:
Tent prices: originally priced at $900 each, we were able to negotiate down to $800. We’ve purchased 25 units for a total of $20,000. Other expenses (transportation and shipping) will be calculated soon. A volunteer’s American friend donated $500 for the U-HAUL rental, and we’re extremely grateful.
For those interested in donating, they are accepting Paypal donations at [email protected]. They also request that you email them with your name and donation total as well, so that they can properly credit your donation, as well as transparently accounting for every cent spent during this process.