The earthquake was in Sichuan province. Ryan in in Jiangxi province which is due east. (I apologize for the poor color shading of this map but I'm still figuring out how to go about finding things on the internet to place in my blog.)
This is Ryan's province and he is currently residing in Shangrao which is in the northeastern portion of the province. I know that the earthquake was felt very far away from the epicenter. Last night I was reading the blog of a family who are currently in Wuhan, Hubei (Jenna's province) and the mother felt the earthquake WHILE she was blogging. Hubei is to the northwest of Jiangxi and is closer to the epicenter.
My agency, CCAI, does not have any families in Sichuan at this time, thank goodness. It is obvious that there is major devastation there. This morning I heard there were 12,000 dead and that number is sure to rise. I am inserting an email I received from a humanitarian aid agency who focuses on children residing in Chinese orphanages. The agency is Half the Sky and they provided much needed aid to orphanages this past winter with the major winter storms during Chinese New Year. Jenny Bowen, the director, gives an update of the situation.
During the past several hours Half the Sky has been working hard to get more information about the children impacted by the Sichuan and Chongqing earthquake. We know that it is not only children in welfare institutions who are in trouble. We know that hundreds of children have been separated from their families, have lost their parents, are hurt, traumatized and in pain. We know we must help; we have been working to figure how best to do so.
We have just a little bit of news. There have been hundreds of aftershocks, one reported to be as strong as 6.0. Children have again been evacuated from the Chengdu institution. Relief workers have arrived in the epicenter, Wenchuan. The Ministry of Civil Affairs (this is the ministry that HTS works with and also the agency responsible for disaster relief) has been unable to reach orphanages in the most affected areas: Mianyang, Zitong, Deyang and Aba. There are other welfare institutions in the affected areas but no others that house children. Each of the four institutions above houses about 100 children. We believe they will need help. We will continue to watch and wait.
Many of you have asked us to set up an emergency relief fund, like we did during the winter storms. Given the nature of this disaster and the fact that help for children may well be needed outside welfare institutions(where we have a direct line) we have waited to set up such a fund until we had absolute assurance that we could put a system in place to deliver the aid where it is most desperately needed.
Half the Sky takes the designation of a donor-restricted gift seriously –that’s our promise to you. We understand that when you make an emergency donation, you put your trust in us. We have spoken very carefully about this with our colleagues at the Ministry of Civil Affairs. We now have their promise as well.
In cooperation with the ministry, we have now set up the Half the Sky Children’s Earthquake Fund. Your donations to the fund will be used to provide emergency and long-term relief to children affected by the disaster. Relief will include emergency shelter, food, and medical care for children orphaned or separated from their families. It will include temporary or long-term foster care or, when necessary, temporary institutional care.
We have a commitment from the ministry that we will receive regular updates on the use of funds and, most important, the well-being of the children.
Within a few hours we will have available a dedicated donation site. In the meantime, if you wish to make a gift to aid children in Sichuan and Chongqing affected by the quake, you may donate through our website ,www.halfthesky.org. Please note that your gift is for earthquake relief.
I will give you more information as I receive it. Please don’t write to ask about the situation in specific locations. I will tell you everything I know.
Thank you for caring so much about the children.
Jenny BowenExecutive DirectorHalf the Sky Foundationwww.halfthesky.org
Half the Sky was created in order to enrich the lives and enhance the prospects for orphaned children in China. We establish and operate infant nurture and preschool programs, provide personalized learning for older children and establish loving permanent family care and guidance for children with disabilities. It is our goal to ensure that every orphaned child has a caring adult in her life and a chance at a bright future.