By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
EBCI tribal employees are organizing several fundraisers to help in the relief effort for earthquake- and tsunami-stricken Japan. The fundraisers are being organized by the Executive Office, EBCI Emergency Management and the EBCI Cooperative Extension Office.
“Residents of the Qualla Boundary are very fortunate,” said Principal Chief Michell Hicks. “Not only do we live in a beautiful area, but also we are blessed with a strong and caring community. Those devastated by the recent events in Japan need our help. Let’s reach out to those who survived this tragedy and do our part.”
Two “March Madness Days” are being organized where tribal employees can donate $5 and get the opportunity to sport apparel of their favorite college team at work. The two days are scheduled for Thursday, March 24 and Thursday, March 31. In addition, a raffle will be held and “Globes” will be sold for a $1 at various businesses in Cherokee.
According to Mollie Grant, EBCI Emergency Management manager, the goal for the fundraisers is $10,000 and all funds raised will go to the American Red Cross.
“Although this devastation may seem a world away, we can make a difference,” Chief Hicks commented further.
According to the American Red Cross, about 264,000 Japanese people were staying in over 1,800 shelters as of Wednesday, March 23.
“The Japanese Red Cross is also involved in looking after those in evacuation centers who have been forced to leave their homes in the exclusion zone that’s been created around the nuclear facility,” said Red Cross spokesperson Francis Markus. “This adds to the complexity of the humanitarian situation.”
As of Wednesday, the Japanese Red Cross had distributed over 125,000 blankets and over 20,000 emergency kits.
The medical situation in Japan is also critical. “We’ve had a bad stomach virus going around so a lot of people are getting diarrhea and becoming dehydrated,” said Dr. Takanori Watanabe, a Red Cross doctor. “The Red Cross teams have a limited variety of medicine and since supplies are limited, patients are getting just three-day’s supply.”
Raffle tickets will be sold locally by Mollie Grant and David Wachacha of the EBCI Emergency Management program, Heather James and the EBCI Cooperative Extension Office and three of the EBCI Royalty including Little Miss Cherokee Alliyah Bigmeat, Junior Miss Cherokee Kaley Locust and Teen Miss Cherokee Andrea Cedillo.