December 5, 2022
The Vietnamese community organized a Haitian earthquake relief event Sunday, raising thousands of dollars for the American Refugee Committee, a Minneapolis based nonprofit that is on the ground with direct and indirect support. A reported Mw 7.0 earthquake (using Moment Magnitude Scale - donated as Mw) struck the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince on January 12, killing reported estimate of 200,000 people with several times that number injured, orphaned or homeless. ARC relief included food and water, medical, along with shelter, sanitation and hygiene support.

A prayer for Haiti was lead by three Vietnamese faith leaders, Father Nguyen Cong Binh of St. Joseph Hien Catholic Church in Minneapolis, Pastor David Doan of Faith Vietnamese Baptist Church in Minnetonka, and the Venerable Toan Nguyen of Chua Phat An Buddhist Temple in Roseville.

By TOM LAVENTURE

AAP staff writer

MINNEAPOLIS (Jan. 31, 2010) – The Vietnamese community organized a Haitian earthquake relief event Sunday, raising thousands of dollars for the American Refugee Committee, a Minneapolis based nonprofit that is on the ground with direct and indirect support.

A reported Mw 7.0 earthquake (using Moment Magnitude Scale – donated as Mw) struck the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince on January 12, killing reported estimate of 200,000 people with several times that number injured, orphaned or homeless.  ARC relief included food and water, medical, along with shelter, sanitation and hygiene support.

A prayer for Haiti was lead by three Vietnamese faith leaders, Father Nguyen Cong Binh of St. Joseph Hien Catholic Church in Minneapolis, Pastor David Doan of Faith Vietnamese Baptist Church in Minnetonka, and the Venerable Toan Nguyen of Chua Phat An Buddhist Temple in Roseville.

The event had many volunteers from the Vietnamese Community of Minnesota, who credited “Susan” My Dung and her spouse, Hue Van Lien, president of Modern Manufacturing & Engineering in Brooklyn Park with inspiring the effort.

The group was consistent in its message that ARC and the American people supported them over 30 years ago as war refugees in need. They said the community felt deeply about the Haitian people in their time of need and wanted to help.

Volunteers, Le Dat, Nguyen Tham, Hung Phung, Quo Huynh Tu Quoc, Ha Tuong, and others added that the community held similar fundraising events following 911 and Katrina. The entertainers provided their time and talent, and there were many donated items for drawings and other fun for the evening.

Mike Zeitouny, the Chief Financial Officer for the ARC Senior Management Team, had just returned from Haiti the day before. He and ARC Communications Director Therese Gales were present to give a report on Haiti and thank the Vietnamese community personally for its support.

Thuy Nguyen Tran served as translator for Zeitouny’s presentation. He said that in a country where the average person earned just $2 a day before the earthquake, and that the suffering now is beyond imagination with an entire city in rubble and thousands of people looking for food, shelter, and medial attention.

Zeitouny said ARC was in Haiti just 48 hours after the earthquake and has provided cash to bring in needed supplies for organizations already doing the recovery and support work. He said that 80 percent of the donations have come from Minnesota.

ARC priorities have been with placing an ARC medical team and supporting others with cash to buy medical supplies and to ensure relief workers have shelter and support. They are also working on distribution management and communications.

ARC is now setting up several temporary shelter camps along the borders of the city where thousands of families now look for immediate housing. ARC is also working on long term resettlement issues with other organizations.

Zeitouny recalled the origins of the Minneapolis based ARC, an international humanitarian aid agency that started 30 years ago in the Southeast Asian refugee camps. Today, he said they continue to partner to provide essential services and economic opportunities to nearly 2.5 million people annually in Africa and Asia, and this has included victims of the Tsunami and the more recent Pakistan earthquakes and floods.

Nearly 300 guests paid $30 each for the evening. U Garden owners Guek Eng Ung and her son Tech Huy Ung said the restaurant offered a deal that meant they would not be making any money on the evening so that as much could go to the relief effort as possible.

The Ung’s are refugees who came from Cambodia in 1981 and said the Haiti victims have been on their mind a lot and that it felt good to help in their own way.

To make a donation to Haitian relief through ARC, send to: American Refugee Committee; 430 Oak Grove, Suite 204; Minneapolis, MN  55403. For more information call 800-875-7060 or visit online at ww.arcrelief.org.

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