BUSINESSES and council leaders in Chester have pledged their support to help victims of the tsunami disaster.
With the death toll rising, Cheshire County Council will hold an emergency meeting of its management board next Tuesday to co-ordinate its response.
Chief executive Jeremy Taylor will discuss ways in which Cheshire's largest employer can help the tens of thousands hit by the catastrophe.
He said: 'We have already had many calls from among our 23,000 strong workforce asking how they can help,' he said.
'Obviously financial donations are the first thing that comes to mind but there may be other ways which the international aid organisations feel would be of more help.
'As yet it is hard to know exactly what would be best. But it may be that we could either send supplies or that donations from our staff could be used to sponsor sending badly-needed expertise to the scene.'
The county's 350 schools may hold fundraising events and the expertise of some council workers may be called upon.
Council leader Paul Findlow (Con) and party leaders Derek Bateman (Lab) and Sue Proctor (Lib Dem) will be involved in the discussions about the countywide appeal.
Meanwhile, Chester's biggest company - MBNA Europe on Chester Business Park - has launched an appeal.
Staff who wish to donate money will have their cash passed onto the Disasters Emergency Committee which is co-ordinating the worldwide response.
MBNA spokesman John Greaves said: 'We have launched our own appeal to act as a conduit for the Disasters Emergency Committee.
'We are using our internal network to focus people's attention and enable them to make a donation.'
Chester Rotary Club will be collecting in Chester city centre next week to help the tsunami victims. The money will pay for water and tents for survivors.
Dandy's Topsoil and Turf Supplies on Sealand Road, Chester are to donate £1 for every order placed with them in the month of January to Oxfam's Asia Disaster Fund.
Have you, your family or friends been affected by the tsunami disaster?
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