Governor Chet Culver and others who’re on a trade mission in China are urging Iowans to make donations to aid earthquake victims in China. "We’ve really partnered with the Red Cross," Culver says. "…That is a very easy place for Iowans to make a contribution — to the International Red Cross. They can earmark their donation to the relief here in China."

Culver’s on a trade mission, visiting a region of China that’s over a thousand miles from the epicenter of the earthquake which struck southwest China on May 12th. Senator Jeff Danielson, a Democrat from Cedar Falls, is part of the trade delegation. "While we’re a half-a-world away, it was pretty compelling to me in the meetings that we were in by the number of Chinese officials who were deeply touched by the fact that we were aware of and understood the breadth and depth of the earthquake and its impact," Danielson says.

Representative Rod Roberts, a Republican from Carroll who’s also on the trade trip, says the Iowa delegation stood with a group of Chinese officials to mark the three-minute moment of silence held in China earlier this week.

"It was quite moving and it was interesting after that moment when we had subsequent meetings it had already been conveyed or communicated to people that we had done that and that sense of standing together with them and letting them know that we were concerned and that, beyond concerned, we wanted to help do something has left an impression with folks here," Roberts says, "so that’s been something important that we’ve done."

Roberts says the response to the earthquake in southwest China still can be seen throughout the northeastern part of the country where he and the other Iowans have been traveling. "They’ve mobilized resources — human resources, material resources — to that part of the country and we’ve had individuals who we’ve met with who had to actually change their schedules so they could physically be involved in the relief effort," Roberts says. "One thing that was significant — the national government called for three days of mourning and some of the expressions of that included on television here there were no entertainment programs that could be viewed. It was a nationwide effort to show a sense of solidarity, as one people sharing in that loss."

The Chinese government says there are more than 80,000 dead or missing in the earthquake zone. Five million Chinese are now homeless and their government has just issued a plea for over three million tents.