Countless ways to help quake victims in need

Chad Abraham

The death toll leapt up again in southern Asia Thursday, as did the number of ways valley residents can make a tax-deductible donation to aid the millions affected by Sunday’s 9.0 earthquake and tsunami.More than 117,000 were killed in the natural disaster and some 5 million people across the region do not have clean water, shelter, food, sanitation or health care, The Associated Press reported, citing the U.N. World Health Organization.Locally, donations can be made to Grassroots Asia, a Snowmass Village group that provides emergency relief, basic care and primary education for vulnerable children. The organization’s founder, Debbie Pennington, left Thursday for southern India to deliver supplies donated from around the valley. She will buy more supplies in Calcutta.To donate to Grassroots Asia, call 923-1700 or go to, an Aspenite originally from Sri Lanka and her husband will host a slide-show presentation to benefit relief efforts on Monday at Paepcke Auditorium. Preethi and Trent Burkholder will present photos taken by Trent, a local photographer, of Sri Lanka, which was ravaged by the tsunami. The nation has the second-highest death toll behind Indonesia at 27,200, according to The Associated Press.”Time is of the essence,” Preethi Burkholder said. “Whole portions of the country have been washed out, including most of the hospitals along the eastern coast.” Tickets to the Burkholders’ slide show, which begins at 7 p.m., are $15. Proceeds will go to the Asafo Global Medical Fund, an Arizona-based nonprofit that transports medical supplies to places in need. The group is raising money to airlift supplies to Sri Lanka. For more information about the benefit show, call 544-1731.Donations that will be forwarded to the American Red Cross International Response Fund can be made at the local branch of US Bank, 420 E. Main St. Contributions can also be sent to the American Red Cross, Western Colorado Chapter, 506 Gunnison Ave., Grand Junction, CO 81501-2620 or online at Internet provides nearly endless avenues to assist tsunami victims. A few groups providing assistance include:• Doctors without Borders. The international relief organization was the first to reach the devastated Aceh, Indonesia, region Thursday. If you would like to make a donation, call the 24-hour toll free line at 1-888-392-0392 or check out• Wisconsin Pharmacal Co. The firm sells “potable water-purification tablets that make water of questionable quality bacteriologically suitable to drink,” the company’s website says. Tsunami survivors face the imminent threat of infection through contamination of drinking water. To buy purification tablets for victims, go to• UNICEF. The organization works for the survival, protection and development of children in 158 countries and territories around the world. In cooperation with governments and nongovernmental organizations, UNICEF promotes health and immunization programs, basic education, nutrition, safe water supply and sanitation services, and continues to provide emergency relief as needed. Donations can be made at 1-800-4-UNICEF or Abraham’s e-mail address is