China: CAFOD rushes aid to quake victims

CAFOD partners in China are racing to survivors of the quake, measuring 7.1 on the Richter scale,  which hit Yushu County in Qinghai Province  on 14 April.

More than 600 people  re known to have been killed. More than 10,000 are injured. But some of the areas affected are isolated and haven’t yet been reached so these figures are likely to excalate.

Father Paul Han from Jinde Charities, said: “We learned a lot from the Sichuan earthquake. So we are much better prepared to respond to this latest disaster. We’re currently looking for a base to operate from in Qinghai. This will be a challenge as many buildings have been destroyed “

Qinghai is a remote, mountainous province in north-west China near Tibet. Fr Paul said the great distance involved and the altitude make delivering aid problematic.

“We’re sending a small team in first of all. They will attend to basic needs, offer counselling and will evaluate how we can best help people.

“It’s less than zero degrees at night as it’s still winter there. Many people are sleeping outside. It’s essential that we get food, tents, water, medical care and warm clothes to them as soon as possible,” he said.

Jinde Charities is doing a needs assessment to find out what sort of things people need. Then they will co-ordinate a group of volunteers from the parish to distribute aid to those who need it.

“We really appreciate the support Catholic agencies from around the world, who have been in contact with us since the earthquake happened.

“We’re going to need their financial support so we can provide people with items such as food, clothes and medicines,” said Fr Paul. “After the Sichuan earthquake, our Catholic partners taught us how to do needs assessments following disasters, how to monitor progress and structure our work. It has really helped strengthen what we do,” he said.

Jinde will continue to provide updates on the situation.

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