In order to provide those affected by Hurricane Katrina with immediate relief, the United Relief Committee has been established as proposed by Master Wan Ko Yee, the Honorable Chairman of United International World Buddhism Association Headquarters (U.I.W.B.A.H.) and a world renown master of art. The U.I.W.B.A.H. has initiated the effort of establishing such a committee at its Southern California Chapter. Master Wan Ko Yee stated: "Hurricane Katrina destroyed houses, submerged cities and displaced hundreds of thousands of people from their communities. The federal and state governments have been doing their utmost in the relief and recovery efforts, but the affected areas are so enormous and the victims are so numerous. We cannot simply watch the government act. We ourselves are obligated to help the disaster victims. This is a critical moment for us to promptly offer as much of our help as possible. We feel their pain and suffering. We will not only donate money and supplies, but also do everything in our power to gather as many people as possible to join us in the relief effort in order to alleviate the victims’ suffering and assist them in reconstructing their homes..."
Right after his speech, Master Wan Ko Yee, on behalf of his family, donated 4,950,000 of his shares of a prestigious art company, Superior Art Frame Company Limited (valued at US$1,200,000.00) to the United Relief Committee. Master Wan Ko Yee's wife, Mrs. Yuhua Wang, also said, "The victims in the affected areas are devastated and in great need of help. We want to do our best in our relief effort …"
The abbess of Hua Zang Si, Dharma Master Long-Hui addressed the attendees, "I would like to shortly express my opinions. As the CEO of the United Relief Committee and the abbess of a Buddhist temple, and based on my personal understanding on the family situation of Master Wan Ko Yee, I feel obligated to honestly say what I have in mind. As a matter of fact, all the family members of Master Wan Ko Yee are involved in art work. They sell their art work to support themselves. Master Wan Ko Yee's family is currently under great financial pressure and is short on funds since they have been helping a lot of people, including monastics and laypersons, financially for many years. There has been a great number of such cases that I'm aware of. Nevertheless, Master's family spares no effort in making contribution for the victims in the affected areas."
On the same day that Master Wan Ko Yee proposed establishing this relief effort, many Buddhist congregations, non-Buddhist organizations and individuals expressed their support of Master Wan Ko Yee's advocacy by joining the United Relief Committee. Included in this effort to date are thirty- nine organizations from all over the world. The number is still increasing at this moment.
There are hundreds of thousands of displaced fellow Americans in urgent need of our help. All of the relief fund raised by the United Relief Committee will be sent to affected areas through the Katrina fund established by former President Bush and former President Clinton. The United Relief Committee urges those of you who would like to offer help to join the committee and urge others to donate. With the expansion of the United Relief Committee, chapters will be established around the world.
The United Relief Committee is a continuous worldwide charity relief organization based in the United States. It is operated within the laws and regulations of the United States. It accepts legal charitable contributions of groups or individuals from all over the world. It offers relief aid to communities or individuals affected by natural or other disasters.