Toronto observed a moment of mourning for victims of the
Tianjin explosion, where the Tianjin Association of Canada (TAC)
hosted a fundraising event for the victims on Aug 21.
On the night of Aug 12, two massive explosions in a chemical
goods warehouse in Tianjin killed 123 people - including 70
firefighters and seven policemen - and affected some 17,000
households, with 692 people hospitalized and 50 still
unaccounted for. Of the missing, 34 are firefighters and
four are police officers.
'As an immigrant from Tianjin, it has been heart-wrenching
to watch explosion images and hear first hand stories from
my fellow Tianjin friends and family members,' said Dr Wang
Peizhong, founder of TAC, a professor of medicine at
Memorial University of Newfoundland. 'They need assistance
and support to cope with the disaster, and many Chinese
immigrants are willing to help in our best capacity.'
In New York City, Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro offered
his condolences over the loss of the Tianjin firefighters in
a statement on Aug 22.
'The world has not experienced the loss of so many brave
firefighters at a single incident since the World Trade
Center was attacked and 343 of New York's Bravest died,
nearly 14 years ago,' he said.
'This is an unimaginable loss for Tianjin, China, and for
the many Asian communities here in New York City,' Nigro
said. 'On behalf of the 15,000 members of the FDNY, we offer
our deepest sympathies to the families of the heroic
firefighters who have died and those who remain missing in
The WeChat of TAC was flooded with condolences, worry and
anxiety. The board of directors held an urgent meeting late
on Aug 12 and decided to change its initial plan for TAC's
10th anniversary to be the Aug 21 fundraiser.
TAC's plan received an enthusiastic response from the
Tianjin community across Canada. A joint statement calling
for solidarity and donations was released by more than 10
Tianjin-related organizations including in Toronto,
Montreal, Calgary, Vancouver and Saskatchewan.
Although donations were voluntary, members of TAC and others
lined up to make contributions. Most of the donations were
collected through the charity auction at the fundraiser.
Xian Xu Yingmin, vice-president of Shenglin Financial Inc,
donated $4,100; the couple Cai Wei and Jenny Ting
contributed $4,000; Charles Jiang, president of Queen
Financial Group, wrote a check for $2,000; Xing Jiyuan,
secretary-general of TAC, gave $1,700; and Daniel Liu,
president of the Canadian Alliance of Chinese Associations
in Vancouver gave $930. The donors bid on the calligraphies
offered by Liu Qiang in the auction.
A total of C$25,780 ($19,559) was raised.
'The proceeds will be transferred to the hands of families
of victims, mainly for the firefighters and residents who
lost their lives in the massive warehouse blasts through
officially charitable organizations in China,' said Dong
Min, president of TAC. '
The fundraising account set up by TAC is TD CANADA TRUST
with account number 10332-004-5270460.
Paul Welitzkin in New York contributed to this story. [email protected]