USF continues efforts for Japan relief

USF clubs and organizations are still raising money for relief efforts in Japan., run by Francis Maraj, a graduate in international studies, and the USF Japanese Club are spreading the message that relief in Japan needs to happen fast.

Maraj said he teamed up with the J-club to help obtain donations and sell T-shirts to raise money.

“We are all very interested in trying to preserve Japanese culture,” he said.

Maraj said more than 550 T-shirts have been sold since March 25 and they have raised approximately $6,000 so far for the Japanese Red Cross.

On Wednesday, the group will be at the Bull Market with a new shipment of shirts for $15. On Thursday, the group is hosting a meeting at the USF Patel Center at 9 a.m. to take a photograph of donors in their T-shirts.

Maraj said he has visited Japan twice: in high school for a study abroad program and for a month last year for travel. He said he hopes to one day work there and wants to see the country restored to its former glory.

Japanese and U.S. troops launched another search for victims Sunday morning.

According to the National Policy Agency of Japan’s Official Countermeasures Report released Sunday, there have been 13,013 people found dead and 14,608 people still missing. The safety and rescue effort consists of about 22,000 Japanese troops and about 110 U.S. troops, who began searching for missing people Sunday.

On Thursday, another earthquake struck the northern Coast of Japan with a 7.1 magnitude. The quake put two more nuclear plants offline and was 25 miles deep.

Japanese Club President Mellanie De Mata said USF’s J-Club is working with many groups and societies on campus to organize further Japanese relief events.

On Thursday, they hosted a charity dinner and vigil at the Martin Luther King Plaza with all proceeds going to donations. The group expected about 150 to 200 people to attend and hoped to raise $500.

De Mata said she is passionate about Japanese culture and wants to visit the country one day.

“We really want to help … my heart goes out to Japan,” she said. “We see what’s on TV and people really wanted to do something. People want to help, and they asked us what they can do, and that’s why (we had) the dinner.”