Olympic-size disaster response needed in China

Posted on August 13, 2008 by ELCA World Hunger

img_5969-780133 Here is a second post by the Rev. Franklin Ishida updating us on ELCA’s International Disaster Response efforts in China. S.

It has been exactly three months since the massive earthquake rocked parts of Sichuan Province in China.
Despite the fact the Olympic torch was relayed through the area hit by the earthquake, lifting people’s spirits, the actual Olympic games
have certainly overshadowed what is happening to the lives of the tens of thousands of earthquake survivors.
In and around Hanwang, one of the most hard-hit towns, identical blue tents are now making way to rows of identical prefabricated homes set up by the government. Electricity has been restored to most areas. And there is some sense of life in the streets. But behind this are memories of more than 87,000 dead or missing throughout the region, a reality that hits home when one looks at the intense destruction that is still visible everywhere.
For those storefront buildings still standing but too dangerous to occupy, tents are up on the street as makeshift shops. Meanwhile, for most survivors, there is nothing left. The government provides a daily allowance of about $1.50 per person. Beyond this many social services are still missing.
Several years ago, ELCA World Hunger funds helped extend the social ministry work of Luzhou Christian Church. Part of this was to extend the services of the clinic that served the marginalized. Reaching out to the community with love excited many members of the church, including health care workers. Doctors, nurses, and medical students regularly volunteer
their time with the clinic. So when the disaster hit, the church clinic was ready to send medical
teams.
The earthquake area was some 5 hours to the north, but for members of Luzhou Christian Church, these were brothers and sisters in need. And their expertise in grassroots-level health care and enthusiasm of volunteers continues to shine a light into the lives of earthquake
survivors.
No one is certain when rebuilding will start. Some sections of town will have to be totally cleared before anything can be built. In the meantime, the church in China is reaching out with love and care; with its own funds and with donations from around the world.
Your support for ELCA World Hunger gave encouragement for Luzhou Christian Church to reach out way beyond its area of ministry to serve survivors of the Sichuan earthquake. Your contributions to ELCA International Disaster Response helped provide for the special needs of
disaster relief. And your continued support for ELCA World Hunger and Disaster Response will provide the necessary tools for ongoing relief and rebuilding of communities struck by the earthquake.
Visit www.imageevent.com/elcahunger/chinaearthquake to find related photos and visit www.elca.org/disaster for further information.
Y. Franklin Ishida
Director for Asia and the Pacific
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Global Mission
E-mail: franklin.ishida@elca.org

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