Earthquake survivors in China walk past rubble from collapsed buildings.
The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF) is accepting donations for victims of the earthquake that struck China on May 12, killing an estimated 15,000 people and leaving thousands more trapped in mounds of debris.
Tens of thousands were also left homeless by the 7.8 magnitude earthquake, said to be the worst to hit China in more than 30 years. In the earthquake’s aftermath, Chinese officials have warned of danger from broken rivers and dams that could trigger landslides.
PWRDF has committed $10,000 as an initial response to an appeal issued by Action by Churches Together (ACT) International, of which it is a member. The Geneva-based ACT, which unites church-related relief efforts worldwide, is co-ordinating its response in China through its member agency, Amity Foundation.
Amity Foundation has deployed staff to Chengdu, 159 km from Wenchuan county in Sichuan province, the earthquake’s epicentre. Victims are in urgent need of shelter, food, clothes, and medicines, the foundation said in its initial report. Many people are injured and many homes, schools and buildings have collapsed. The foundation has issued an appeal on its Web site, www.amityfoundation.org, for counsellors to help victims who are suffering from grief and trauma.
The earthquake has also affected other provinces, including Gansu, Qinghai, Guizhou, Ningxia, Henan, Shanxi, Sha’anxi, Beijing, and Jiangsu.
A massive search and rescue operation is underway, but bad weather and rubble-strewn roads hampered the efforts of soldiers, firefighters, and volunteers. China’s air force managed to drop relief goods, including bottled water, milk and instant noodles in some areas, according to Xinhua, the Chinese news agency.
Two of Xinhua’s reporters, who managed to reach Wenchuan county on foot, have reported heartbreaking scenes of devastation. “Many people carried their injured family members and relatives with stretchers or slide bars, the local type of simplified rickshaw. Some of the injured were apparently dying,” they reported. “A woman carried a dead infant wrapped in white clothes as if the baby was alive and hiked forward with her husband.”
Amity Foundation has released an initial one million yuan ($144, 048 Cdn) to help provide immediate relief for victims.
Amity Foundation, created in 1985 by Chinese Christians, has been engaged in programs related to education, social welfare, health, rural development, emergency relief, and rehabilitation. It has established a nationwide relief network through local partners and churches.
For information on how to donate to the victims of the earthquake in China, please visit the PWRDF Web site, www.pwrdf.org