From Pin Lu’s blog, WaterInk.net
It was about this time last year, when the news kept coming. The casualty number kept increasing, and there were still places not accessible to the rescuers, many of whom were ill-equipped soldiers and volunteers trying to get through the mountainous roads destroyed by landslide. The whole nation of China was in deep shock and mourning. It touched everyone. I remembered that when reading Tania Branigan’s report from Dujiangyan on the street, I struggled to contain my emotion. Then there was the great determination shown by the rescuers coming from all parts of the country and overseas to save as many lives as possible. And for us who were thousand miles away, all we could say was we must do something.
The Sichuan Earthquake Update’s call for donation met with overwhelming response. People from all over the world approached us to give us support, send their donation, give their time, work as volunteers, donate their work for charity auction, and much more. Wendy Wu, CEO of Mother’s Bridge of Love, recently published the figures and plans for the distribution of the donation.
The news agenda have moved on. The earthquake may look remote and distant for most people who have matters closer to home to worry about. But in Sichuan, the reconstruction of the earthquake-hit area has only just begun. New schools are rising up, but the parents are still grieving their lost children. However, Out of ruins, people are rebuilding their life, and love has flourished.
I’ll keep the Sichuan Earthquake Update project going. Hopefully we will see more news about the rebuilding of homes and lives there.
Fu Jing, one of Sichuan Earthquake Update team member, writes on his China Daily blog about the progress of rebuilding the earthquake-hit area, among other things. The blog is mainly in Chinese.
China Daily’s journalist Fu Jing, who’s part of the Sichuan Earthquake Update team, has recently traveled to Sichuan and started a new programme to help the poor families in Pingwu county and other areas of Sichuan. If you’d like to help, please contact Fu Jing or write to us and we’re happy to pass your message.
Extend help to quake victims
By Fu Jing (China Daily)
Updated: 2008-11-08 08:00
Charitable deeds should be done without publicity.
This my friend James Jao believes is a traditional Chinese virtue, and he has engraved it in his mind as one of life’s philosophies. I agree.
But after an enlightening weekend tour of Sichuan’s earthquake zone, we decided to put aside that belief for a while. Our desire was to share what we were doing in a ruined primary school - bring hope, more help and assistance to kids enveloped in the scarred mountains.
It began half year ago when I was reporting the earthquake. In the ruins of Hongbai Primary School of Shifang, one of the severely hit cities near the epicenter, I found a dozen paintings by kids, which were themed “Green Earth” and “World Full of Love.”
MBL has donated 4000 pounds as the first part of the fund raised in MBL’s project “Help Children in China Quake” to China Children and Teenagers’ Fund (CCTF). The following picture is the invoice from CCTF. CCTF will further report the use of the charity fund and MBL will also keep on reporting about the usage of the fund raised.
A policy memorandum published today by Ministry of Civil Affairs and Sichuan Provincial Government has highlighted the principles regarding the care of earthquake orphans. The priority is given to children’s relatives and parents who lost their children in the earthquake.
In short term, orphans and children with missing parents must be taken care by the local government, in separation with other victims. While in the process of identifying their parents, the authority must arrange the children to be taken care by social welfare organisation, temporary foster families or boarding schools in other areas of Sichuan with better conditions, or other provinces.
In long term, the momorandum has highlighted several principles in terms of child adoption and fostering. The priority will be given to children’s relatives, with the support of local government. If relatives can not be found, or are not able to support the child, those families who lost their children in the earthquake will be given the priority to adopt an orphan. The orphans can also be fostered by other families in China who are willing to help. The memorandum stresses that consent must be sought from the child if he or she is over 10 years old before being adopted or fostered. Some orphans may be taken by orphanages.
CEO, Mother Bridge of Love
04 June 2008
Psychological counselling and school rebuilding are the two big challenges local educational authorities are facing. Before the earthquake, local government has embarked on a plan of bridging the gap of quality and access between urban and rural areas by building central boarding schools for the children from remote rural areas, who can study in Town Centre Schools with better facilities and teaching resources. Now the focus is on assessing how to rebuild schools quickly. It’s likely as the first step, temporary schools will be built in the central areas.
The earthquake has left more than 4000 children orphaned or without proper parental care. There has been huge waves of sympathy from families around China. Many of them also have expressed the willingness to adopt an earthquake orphan. International adoption is not high on the agenda.
Our local correspondents and volunteers also told me the distribution of aids is not even, largely dependent on accessibility. Towns and villages along the main roads have been well covered. However villages difficult to reach need more aids. Some self-organised volunteers with better transport, knowledge and equipments are doing well in filling the gaps.
CEO, Mother Bridge of Love
27 May 2008
I have been on phone with several volunteers in Deyang (德阳). I was told Deyang is the second most damaged area during the earthquake. Several villages and towns have been completely destroyed by the quake and following landslides. By the way, Deyang, which has the population of about 4 millions, is a “prefecture-level city”, under which are three “county-level cities”, one “county-level district”, and two counties. Mianzhu (绵竹), which has appeared in British media reporting quite a few times, is one of the “county-level city” of Deyang that has suffered severe damage.
I was told that the authority’s focus is still on rescue and safety. The rebuilding process hasn’t really started yet, although there are plans of building temporary homes quickly which will only last several years.
More help is now needed in hospital and medical and health care. Sichuan is famous for its high humidity and the summer is coming. Things like tent, mosquito cream, and personal hygiene products are in shortage.
At the moment, the areas need most help are Mianzhu and Shifang (什邡). Students and teachers are the most affected group of people. About 200 students of all ages who have lost their parents or whose parents are unable to take care of them, are still living in the tent inside Mianzhu City Stadium. Many children and adults will need counseling. Local Educational Bureau has set up a team for this purpose, but the task ahead is overwhelming.
CEO, Mother Bridge of Love
22 May 2008
Those injuried in the earthquake have been flied out from Chengdu (成都) to all over China in order to reduce the burden on local hospitals and have better treatment. Local report says Guangdong (广东 Canton), which is about 1500 miles away from the epicentre, has taken 250 patients, many with serious injuries. They have been spreaded around several cities of the province. One city, Foshan (佛山), has taken 21 patients, allocated into two hospitals. One of them, Foshan Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital, has a bone fracture specialist unit. It’s possible there will be more patients from the earthquake area being transferred there.
Meanwhile local paper in Foshan has started a campaign to recruit a total of 200 volunteers and volunteering family to help.
22 May 2008
I was on the phone with Mr Hu Bei, Deputy Director of Deyang (德阳) Educational Bureau, another county near the epicentre which has been devastated by the earthquake. One of his main concerns was how quickly they can rebuild schools for the estimated 30,000 school children survived the quake. He wanted to make sure the children would be able to resume they study as soon as possible, not to miss too many lessons. According to his estimate, the school rebuilding project would cost at least 3 billion RMB (about £220 millions, US$430 millions) in Deyang County alone.
He also expressed the concern that the relief aids were not reaching the areas outside big towns quickly enough. About 60-80% of collapsed houses are in the poor rural areas, where the children need more attention and care.
CEO, Mother Bridge of Love
19 May 2008
In the last a couple days, many media organisations have arrived Beichuan (北川), one of the mountainous counties devastated by the earthquake. Reading and watching news from UK, if appears there are several camera crews from BBC, Sky and some press in Beichuan.
Feedbacks from our local correspondents and volunteers, however, indicate that the media are largely concentrated in the large town centres. While there are many rescue and relief work going on in the most populated area, people in the surrounding small towns and villages also need help. There are some rescue and relief workers there, but because of the lack of access or information, we seldom heard their stories and what they need.
China has mobilised rescue and medical workers from all over the country. Some drove their trucks or ambulances for thousands of miles to reach the disaster area. There are also numbers of volunteer groups, often self-organised through the internet, working on small and specific projects. We hope we can report back to you in the coming days.
18 May 2008