Awed, humbled and shocked by the destruction caused by the tsunamis that hammered southern Asia earlier this week, Linkin Park have teamed up with the American Red Cross to establish Music for Relief, a charity dedicated to providing aid to victims of the tragedy.
Linkin Park have donated $100,000 to get things going, and they’re hoping their fans and musical brethren will follow suit.
“As a band, we were in a position to help, but this needs to be a lot broader effort – both by our fans and by other musicians,” Linkin Park guitarist Brad Delson said. “If one of our fans can donate $10, then that’s going to help, and the faster we can do it, the better.
“Here in the States, we might not think that we’re directly affected by all this, but we can help. And the more we can do, and the quicker we can do it, the more lives we can save,” Delson continued. “Obviously, there’s been a horrendous, unparalleled loss of life. But a lot more people are going to die from being homeless and the problems with the water and diseases.”
On Sunday morning, a 9.0-magnitude earthquake shook the floor of the Indian Ocean, stirring up massive tidal waves – called tsunamis – that smashed into coastlines from Indonesia to Somalia. In the aftermath, the death toll in southern Asia has climbed to more than 52,000, according to CBS News. The United Nations has estimated that at least a third of the dead were children.
Millions more remain homeless, and though they’ve survived the tidal waves, the worst may still lie ahead: Officials with the World Health Organization worry that diseases spread in the tsunamis’ wake – cholera, malaria and other communicable diseases associated with a lack of clean water and sanitation – could claim even more lives.
“The whole thing is really a race against time,” Delson said.
In June, Linkin Park played a massive outdoor concert at the Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand. Today, a few miles away, that city’s international airport serves as a makeshift triage station, with victims of the disaster receiving medical treatment on the tarmac.
“We played what was the largest Thai concert in the past 10 years. It was an amazing show, and I carry with me the hospitality of the Thai people and the people of southern Asia,” he said. “And having been there, I can just say that people there were so welcoming to us, and I really hope that through this effort we can help in some small way.”
Aid agencies around the world, including the American Red Cross and Britain’s Oxfam, are mounting what U.N. officials are already calling largest emergency relief effort in history. Hundreds of tons of food, medicine and blankets are arriving daily in hard-hit countries like Sri Lanka and Indonesia, and nations like the U.S., Japan and Australia have already pledged more than $40 million in aid. But more help is desperately needed; the U.N. has said that the disaster caused “many billions of dollars” of damages and may be the costliest ever.
“We don’t have a specific monetary goal right now,” Delson said. “But we hope that anyone and everyone who can help will. We hope people will contribute what they can, because we can really save lives.”
Donations can be made via MusicForRelief.org, which goes live Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET, or via the American Red Cross’ Web site, RedCross.org.