This past week our collective focus has been on both Boston and on Texas – hoping, praying, reading, learning, investigating, and railing against these two tragedies that took many lives and forever changed the lives of tens upon tens of thousands of people.
There is, however, at least one other disaster that is keeping my mind alert – the April 20, 7.0 earthquake that shook the Sichuan province of China leaving more than 200 people dead, 11,500 injured and leaving 1.5 million affected. Extensive damage is seen across Lushan, Tianquan and Baoxing counties. According to a United Nations Situation Report, “local roads were badly damaged and blocked by landslides and dozens of bridges damaged to varying degrees. Major roads to affected areas are being restored gradually. The quake led to a cut off of power and communication, gas and water.” According to Xinhua, the China Earthquake Administration has reported 4,000 aftershocks as a result of this recent quake.
According to our outreach efforts to international NGOs operational in Sichuan, immediate shelter and basic food needs are being met by the Government of China, but vulnerable populations will require special care in the months to come.
There has been very little media coverage on the earthquake, and no international call for assistance from the Chinese Government – for both of these reasons, I’m writing to our CDP community.
Despite the fact that the Chinese government has not called for international assistance, the needs of the affected community is expectedly high, and NGOs are actively engaged in relief, recovery and long-term rebuilding activities.
Here are a few organizations where you can channel your philanthropic dollars to make a difference:
- Mercy Corps – initial plans include supplying vulnerable families with hygiene kits, providing hygiene training and promotion, and training caregivers to educate parents and adults in recognizing signs of trauma and working with children so that they may recover emotionally from the crisis. Mercy Corps has a base of operations in Sichuan and a decade-long strategic partnership with the China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation. More. (CFPA). http://www.mercycorps.org/articles/china/assessing-emergency-needs-after-deadly-earthquake-sichuan-province
- Save the Children – seeks to reach 80,000 people, including 30,000 children through the China Earthquake 2013 Children in Emergency Fund to provide needed food, care and support. Save the Children has worked in China for twenty years and responded to almost twenty disasters in that time, including the 2008 Sichuan earthquake and the twin earthquakes of last year in Yunnan Province. Thus far, Save the Children staff has distributed basic hygiene supplies, and plan on addressing both basic needs, as well as protection, health and education needs.
- Give2Asia – staff on the ground in China is assessing immediate and longer-term needs resulting from the quake. The organization has launched the Give2Asia Sichuan Earthquake Fund 2013. Give2Asia is working with local partners in China to help affected communities. The fund seeks to address both immediate and long-term needs of affected communities. More.
- The Red Cross Society of China (RCSC) – according to a recent report sent to me by the American Red Cross, the RCSC has been “carrying out extensive needs assessment and relief work in the areas affected by the earthquake…The RCSC response team set up the first batch of 200 relief tents the afternoon the earthquake struck to accommodate displaced people.” According to the American Red Cross, the RCSC has mobilized 10,650 family kits, 8,1809 quilts, 7,000 jackets and clothing, 2,000 blankets, 2,584 tents, 2,300 bottles of water, 2,500 cartons of instant food, 447 mattress and dispatched 400 emergency response team members to impacted areas.
- UNICEF – The United Nations Children’s Fund, is working with the “State Council National Working Committee on Children and Women (NWCCW) to strengthen existing Child Friendly Spaces (CFS) near the epicentre. It will also support mobile child welfare outreach teams in surrounding communities to help connect vulnerable children with available services.” More.
This list is far from comprehensive. Church World Service, World Vision, Ofxam, the ACT Alliance, and many other well-established international NGOs are providing lifesaving support to individuals affected by this horrific quake.
While it is only natural to place our hearts and open our wallets with events close to home, we also have the opportunity to impact a community that has been struck three times in as many years.