Saturday, May 17, 2008

Earthquake update May 17

I feel compelled to share news whenever I receive it. Here is today's update from Jenny at Half the Sky. By the way, for those who may be asking..."why Half the Sky",
the orphanage (or SWI - means Social Welfare Institute) where Mailia lived was one of the lucky orphanages where HTS came in and set up. They are invaluable for training care-givers and teachers. They are also set up to receive sponsorships for the kids. Mailia was sponsored while in their program and so was a beneficiary of their care and teaching. Once home with Mailia, HTS sent me many, many pictures and progress reports for Mailia which are precious glimpses into her life before she was ours. I am forever indebted to Half the Sky!


Dear Friends,
It is mid-weekend now in China so we are not getting a daily call from the
ministry. But I do have further information to share with you.
We have now reached every affected institution, with the exception of Aba
Tibetan-Qiang Autonomous Prefecture where the orphanage is said to house
52 children. We will let you know as soon as we make contact.
It turns out the Mianzhu SWI, which we’d had trouble reaching, was leveled
in the quake. There was one fatality, an elderly resident. Thankfully,
all of the children were in community foster care and all are fine.
As of today (Saturday) there were 28,881 people confirmed dead. There
were a very small number of live rescues, but the teams have not given up
hope. Cities like Mianyang have become refugee centers. 20,000 homeless
who have come on foot from nearby towns are living in the local stadium;
many more thousands have no place to go. 4.7 million homes have been
destroyed. 169,000 people are injured.
Ma Lang tells us that although the rescue resources keeping coming in, one
concern is the uneven distribution of much needed goods. “Counties and
townships that have been the focus in media coverage receive more
resources (sometimes more than enough); while in some other areas, there
is little. In Qingchuan, people are surviving on one bottle of water and
two cookies per day.”
In the schools that did not collapse (almost 7,000 were destroyed) the
education bureaus are working to care for displaced children. They need
tents, blankets, masks, rice, noodles, oil, flashlights, disposable
underwear and antiseptic wipes. Many of those items and the items are are
requested by the welfare institutions are no longer available in Chengdu.
With the funds you have donated, HTS has a team of volunteer shoppers
scouring Chengdu and we have a network of staff and volunteers seeking out
needed items throughout China.
Today, with your help, we purchased 100 large refugee tents to house
children who are in need of shelter. We have arranged to purchase more
later this week but want to be sure we can properly distribute first. It
is not easy to find goods now or to get them where they need to go. But
everyone is working together to help the children.
As you have heard, this tragic event has both killed children and created
orphans. A group of new orphans has been transported to Chengdu. We
expect to have more information soon.
Meanwhile, the orphanage in Chengdu experienced a magnitude 5.9 aftershock
yesterday (there have been 23 major aftershocks ranging from 5-6.9 on the
Richter Scale!) and is preparing, if necessary, to move the children
completely out of what was considered to be the most solid building. They
have requested tents, which we are providing immediately.
Please give what you can to help the children who survive go on with their
Your donations to support relief efforts for the children have been so
generous. It is deeply moving to see how many people care.
with love,
Jenny Bowen
Executive Director
Half the Sky Foundation

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