On the 20th of April, a 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck the Lushan County of Ya’an City in Sichuan Province. By the same time Monday, April 22, the number of deaths rose to 188, with 25 people still being reported as missing, 11,460 injured and 1.5 million affected. There have already been 2,044 aftershocks that have been felt since the quake struck.
There are a large number of collapsed or severely damaged houses and buildings as a result of the earthquake. Many people have no place to live. The needs include tents, water, foods, medicines and clothes which will be included in the assessment report and appeal .
Ya’an is well known for the abundant rainfall throughout the year. Weather reports predict rainfall in the week following the earthquak which could result in more landslides and make the rescue work more challenging.
Currently, roads leading to some townships of Ya’an have been blocked due to large volumes of traffic. The focus, of course, is on rescuing people who may be trapped and holding on until help arrives. In light of the road conditions rescue trucks and ambulances are the primary vehicles on the road near the epicenter of the quake. Automobiles with relief goods and private cars with volunteers are also being allowed into the area.
Two Amity Foundation staff members Mr. Shu Junsong and Mr. Zhang Chao hurried off to Ya’an and arrived in Chengdu, the capital city of Sichuan Province in the wee hours on April 21st. Physically being in the area within 24 hours, colleagues felt the strong aftershocks as a number of buildings near them clasped the second or third time.
Amity staffers are currently working in two townships that were heavily struck, namely Tianquan Township and Baoxing Township. The first batch of relief materials have already arrived at Tianquan Middle School.
Tianquan school has a total of 2,600 students, There were 800 who were affected, most of which are the 12th grade students who board at the school. After the quake, students were evacuated to the tents on the playground. Arriving with the first Amity relief truck were bottled water, sausages, instant noodles as well as 15 tents - which can house between 30 to 40 people each. Principal of Tianquan Middle school says that it is only around 50 days before the national university entrance examination. The big tents would be very helpful for students’ preparation for this crucial exam.
Two other Amity staffers from the headquarters in Nanjing. Mr. Liu Xiansong and Mr. Wei Wei will be responsible for purchase of more relief goods in Chengdu. Both men are experienced relief workers who have worked in a number of disaster relief work including Wenchuan earthquake, Zhouqu landslide, Yushu earthquake etc.
Local Churches connected to the China Christian Council have begun the assessment of needs in Sichuan Province, and are providing needed resources including tents, food, water and medicines. In addition, Sichuan Christian Council is preparing its damage assessment for the area. The preliminary disaster relief plan will include the delivering of relief materials, organizing medical services and offering psychological comforts.
Ome Great Hour of Sharing of the United Church of Christ is working through the East Asia Pacific Office of Global Ministries to support our partnersL the Christian Council of Churches and the AMITY Foundation (part of ACT Alliance).
How you can help:
1. Pray for the people impacted by the China Earthquake, their families, our Partner Organizations active in this disaster's response efforts, and all of the humanitarian workers.
2. To assist people in recovering from this disaster, please make a gift payable to your congregation marked for “China Earthquake" with the request they be sent through your Conference office on to Wider Church Ministries.
OR Send gifts, made out to United Church of Christ and marked in the memo portion “China Earthquake” to United Church of Christ; Financial Services; 700 Prospect Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44115.
OR Make a secure online donation to the International Disaster Relief fund. Please note “China Earthquake” in the Comments Box.
Thank you for your compassion and support.