China Earthquake Response
GENEVA, May 23, 2008–With more than 55,000 reported dead, a looming rainy season and fears of impending disease outbreaks, ACT member, Amity Foundation, continues to provide rapid assistance to vulnerable communities devastated by the May 12 earthquake in China.
As the massive humanitarian response continues, Amity reports that many people who were able to evacuate to urban areas generally have better access to assistance and that it is prioritizing relief aid for vulnerable rural communities.
In Mianzhu County, close to 5,000 people who survived the quake were living in a local stadium. Many people are injured, have been left without work and are in need of psychosocial care. Amity has dispatched a volunteer team of trauma counselors and social workers to the area to address the emotional and mental health needs.
In a nearby village, one woman, Mrs. Rou, was very appreciative of the initial assistance provided by the government. “They have provided us with clean drinking water, some biscuits, instant noodles, necessary medicine and other items,” she said.
“The biscuit and instant noodles taste good, but as a farmer, we still would like to eat some rice and cook some vegetables with oil,” added Mrs. Rou. “Most of our quilts are still in our collapsed house and can’t be used anymore.”
Upon receiving assistance from Amity the next day, including rapeseed oil and much-needed quilts, one villager said, “You really helped us a lot and we can’t imagine how you provided these goods so quickly. You helped us based on our needs.”
Just a day after assessing the quake-hit villages of Penghua and Woyun, where most homes are collapsed or severely damaged, Amity staff returned with 6,800 kilograms of cooking oils and 1,700 quilts.
Villagers were quite surprised that they received the much-needed initial assistance so quickly and the community actively joined the Amity team in unloading the materials.
Other needed support, including tarpaulins and rice, is currently being purchased and will be distributed in the coming days.
In the village of Renhe in the Yinghua Township, Amity reports that families had to ration food allowing only the children and the elderly to eat one bowl of rice per day, due to the short supply. Amity has provided the village with food aid and will continue to monitor the situation.
A global appeal
The global alliance, Action by Churches Together (ACT) International, launched a US $1.475 million preliminary appeal last week on behalf Amity to assist close to 8,000 affected families. Pledges by ACT members currently cover more than 50 percent of the requested appeal funding.
Amity plans to provide 16,000 of the most vulnerable people with food support to sustain them through the immediate shortage. In addition, Amity will distribute 8,000 tarpaulins and quilts to help families protect and shelter themselves.
Following the initial crisis phase, Amity will assist in rebuilding communities, including 600 homes, 10 schools and 5 clinics. Other rehabilitation assistance will target destroyed or severely damaged water and irrigation systems.
Amity works in close coordination with local government authorities. In order to ensure the smooth implementation of the projects, Amity has also set up a coordination team, which includes Amity staff, local partner staff and members of local Christian councils.
Action by Churches Together (ACT) International is a global alliances of churches and related agencies working to save lives and support communities in emergencies worldwide. PWRDF is a member of ACT.