China Disaster Triggers National Three Days of Mourning
The State Council of China announced May 19 through May 21 shall serve as national mourning dates to express to all Chinese citizens the profound condolences for those affected by the Sichuan Wenchuan earthquake. The nation, citizens abroad, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and stationed legislations and consulates will fly flags at half-staff, respectively indicating mourning.
The State Council of China announced May 19 through May 21 shall serve as national mourning dates to express to all Chinese citizens the profound condolences for those affected by the Sichuan Wenchuan earthquake. The nation, citizens abroad, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and stationed legislations and consulates will fly flags at half-staff, respectively indicating mourning. As well, all public recreational activity will cease during this period. On May 19 at 2:00 PM (2:00 AM U.S. EST) all 28 provinces will pay a silent 3 minute tribute. At the appointed time scheduled automobiles, trains, ships, and the air defense warning will resound indicating the moment of penitence.
Amity Foundation Contributes Aid and Updates
As of 11 PM, May 19th, 2008 (China Time) the total deaths attributed to last weeks devastating quakes rose to 40,075. The injured are counted at 247,645 and both numbers continue to rise each day. Approximately 70-80% of houses collapsed in the quake and thousands of subsequent aftershocks leaving over 5 Million people homeless.
As of 11:00 PM (China time) May 19th, donations from abroad continue to pour into Amity with totals including;
China Donations = RMB 733,636.36 Yuan
Hong Kong = $ 4.88 million HKD
US = $ 77,000 USD
Euros = 220,000
Canadian Dollar = 5,000
Swedish Krone = 250,000
GBP = 10,000
The World Christian Council Round Table Core Group Meeting finished at noon time in Nanjing on May 16th. Condolences were given to the victims of the earthquake. The meeting calls for more support from the partner organization to the earthquake relief in China.
She Hongyu from the Amity Foundation advises that the situation changes day by day. We just heard from the front line that many medical squads and groups have swarmed in Chengdu from both home and abroad. The rescue office says that with the medical force available on the ground, basic medical need are met. For the time being, local government is taking restrictions with the registration of medical groups. Hongyu says “those who have expressed the willingness to come and help might have to shelf their plans until further notice.”
Mr. Zheng Ye, Assistant Director, Amity Community Development and Environmental Protection program and Principal Shan Gou finally arrived in Beichuan County, one of the most devastated areas. Zheng Ye reports that most victims have now been evacuated to Mianyang City. With each passing day, trapped people have a fewer and fewer chance for survival. Due to the severity of the earthquake, the survivor search and emergency rescue work by military and rescuers is drawing toward an end.
In Mianyang, Amity distributes plastics sheets and helps with putting up tents. Quilts totaling 1,000 and made urgently have been delivered to Mianyang City. Ground Amity staff sees that ample supplies are provided and have decided to truck quilts to other townships and villages surrounding Mianyang. Amity is now in the process of discussing their next steps for post-disaster relief.
Orphans left in the wake of the disaster are becoming a major issue. Amity is creating a program to aid rural orphans in offering help to those affected by earthquake. “Although at the moment, we can not know how many children have lost their beloved ones, Amity calls for sponsorship for orphans from the earthquake. Approximately 1,485 Yuan will cover an orphan’s education, medicine and clothing”, Hongyu says.
Amity interviews victims in preparation for more counseling volunteers to arrive. An advertisement on Amity’s website is seeking experienced counseling personnel. Within 24 hours of the web posting, over 50 people applied. A small team specialized in counseling will be sent to Sichuan to join the teams already in place.