Aid Ongoing as China Mourns Quake Victims
April 28, 2010
A UMNS Report
By Linda Bloom*
As China observed a national day of mourning for earthquake victims on April 21, a team from the Amity Foundation, a United Methodist partner, was assisting survivors.
More than 2,000 people were killed when the 7.1-magnitude earthquake struck the Yushu area of China's northwestern province of Qinghai on April 14.
More than 12,000 were injured and 175 remain missing, according to Chinese officials. The affected area's high altitude, near-freezing temperatures and damaged roads have made rescue operations more difficult.
The Amity team now on the ground in Qinghai includes two staff members who led a team of professional voluntary psychological counselors in the Sichuan earthquake region in 2008, according to She Hongyu, an Amity executive and director of the foundation's research and development center.
Within a week of the earthquake, Amity distributed three shipments of blankets, food and water. The fourth Amity shipment arrived in the Qinghai province the night of April 21, She reported. Rice, flour, blankets and mineral water from that shipment were distributed in three different places.
Amity staff also delivered medical supplies to emergency medical teams and candles to the school in Longbao Town, where classes were scheduled to resume. Another shipment was being assembled in Xining, the provincial capital.
On April 20, Amity relief workers visited villagers in Zanian Village, Longbao Township, for the third time, bringing 8 tons of flour; 2 tons of rice; 2,000 bottles of mineral water; and 1,000 cartons of beef sausages. The fact that "people from thousands of miles away care about us" gives them new hope, one villager said.
Amity has provided community and environmental programs in Yushu – where the vast majority of the population is ethnic Tibetan – for a number of years. Most of its 100,000 inhabitants are spread over a wide area and are farmers, traders or others with limited economic capacity to recover from the earthquake, according to Amity.
The government of Hong Kong approved a $580,000 grant to support Amity's emergency relief work in Yushu. The foundation is preparing a proposal to submit to Action by Churches Together. The United Methodist Committee on Relief will make a grant once an appeal is launched by the ACT Alliance.
The same partnership of UMCOR, Amity and ACT responded to the massive May 12, 2008, earthquake that killed more than 70,000 and left 18,000 missing, causing extensive damage in China's heavily populated Sichuan province.
Donations to support UMCOR's response and help earthquake survivors can be made to International Disaster Response, China Earthquake, UMCOR Advance #982450. Donations can be placed in church offering plates, sent by mail or made online. Details are available at www.umcor.org.
*Bloom is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in New York.