April 23, 2013

Situation Report #1: Lushan, China Earthquake

Situation

A magnitude seven earthquake hit a rural area of Sichuan province in southwest China the morning of Saturday, April 20, affecting several Ya’an counties, including Lushan county, the quake’s epicenter.  The earthquake has affected 1.5 million people, killing at least 188, injuring more than 11,000 and destroying at least 10,000 homes. 

The quake cut power and communication lines and blocked roads, preventing rescuers from reaching hardest-hit areas, according to The Amity Foundation, a member of the ACT Alliance. Aerial shots of Lushan show that more than 50 percent of the buildings have collapsed in the epicenter townships.

The earthquake-prone region was subject to a 2008 quake in which more than 87,000 people were reported dead or missing. 

CWS Response

As a fellow member of The ACT Alliance, Church World Service will support The Amity Foundation, which already has begun to help worst-affected survivors with urgently needed relief items including food, water and other essentials. It also expects to offer rehabilitation services.

The ACT Alliance plans to issue an appeal to assist the people with least resources.

Amity staffers are currently working in hard-hit Tianquan and Baoxing townships.  The first relief materials, including bottled water, sausages, instant noodles and tents, already have arrived at Tianquan Middle School. Of the school’s 2,600 students, the 800 12th graders, who board at the school, have been the most affected.  They have been vacated to large tents on the playground.

The school’s principal says that it is only around 50 days before the national university entrance examination and that the quick help ensures students’ uninterrupted preparation for this crucial exam. 

How to Help

Contributions to support CWS emergency response efforts may be sent to your denomination or to Church World Service, P.O. Box 968, Elkhart, IN 46515. Donations to our emergency response efforts around the globe may also be made online.

CWS is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of churches and agencies engaged in development, humanitarian assistance and advocacy.