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Tuesday, December 6, 2016
China: Catholic charities step up aid to earthquake survivors
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¬†"Big Uncle Franz": that is what the children in the Jing An neighborhood in the District of An Xian, the site of the epicentre in the quake, call the leader of Caritas Germany who is working to distribute the rice and cooking oil that has been donated by the Catholic community, with the coordination efforts of Jinde Charities. It is, in fact, a Chinese expression that is commonly used by the children in addressing adults who are not biologically related to them, and "Big" part was added on, as the Caritas official is over two metres tall. In spite of the language barrier, the children approach him and even try to ask questions, however they must remain content with gestures and smiles, and a response in English from "Uncle Franz." Following the arrival of camping tents, on June 8, 20 tons of rice and 307 bottles of cooking oil arrived. The items were sent from the Catholic community to the new humanitarian aid distribution center in the area. A local governmental official said: "We do not have words to express our gratitude towards the Catholics. The first aid shipment you sent, which we were so in need of, has already arrived. With it, we have been able to save 307 families, over 1,100 people, from starvation." The volunteers ≠ bishops, priests, religious, Catholic lay faithful from China and Germany ≠ who have brought this aid to the earthquake disaster area, have risked being caught up in mudslides along the way, suffering both hunger and thirst. Even Bishop Dang Ming Yan of Xi An, after having unloaded the tents, lied down on the ground exhausted, without worrying about his "bishop's dignity," as the volunteers jokingly remarked. Everyone has been working tirelessly, not even stopping to rest for a moment, sending word out to the Catholics: "pray for us, that we will be able to make the aid reach its destination in time and as soon as possible." Yesterday, 9 June, another shipment of 210 tons of rice and 17.5 tons of cooking oil arrived. The Emergency Office of Jinde Charities in the earthquake-struck zone is also sending out a group of religious sisters to offer psychological support to the victims, in response to local request. Source: FIDES
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