THE Salvation Army is providing support in Yunnan Province, China, after a 6.1-magnitude earthquake on Sunday 3 August caused widespread devastation – particularly around Ludian County, which was the epicentre. Upwards of 600 people lost their lives in the disaster and more than 3,000 were injured. Local reports suggest that at least 80,000 houses collapsed and nearly 230,000 survivors are in need of emergency resettlement. Salvation Army emergency relief personnel have reached Ludian and connected with the local relief officials. The survivors have been placed in more than 100 resettlement points in Ludian.
Continuous aftershocks and torrential rain are causing landslides, making rescue work increasingly difficult. The water level of a lake formed between landslides continues to rise, threatening the lives of villagers and power stations should it overflow.
Emergency supplies have been sent by The Salvation Army to the worst-affected areas, including Lungtoushan Township and Huodehong Village. Some victims walked from Lungtoushan Township to the centre of Ludian County to be housed in tents that have been provided. A Salvation Army relief team reached Shuimo Township and Longshu Village by 8 August to distribute relief supplies.
In addition to the emergency food supplies, The Salvation Army plans to send social workers from Hong Kong to Ludian, setting up counselling teams to help the children who have been affected. Mainland social work undergraduates will be trained to serve at resettlement points. Salvation Army relief personnel have visited some of the temporary shelters and found that many children are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. They need urgent and proper counselling and treatment. Services being considered include trauma counselling, play therapy and other counselling activities.
To help children return to normal school life in September, The Salvation Army is planning on providing assistance to schools in the disaster area.
On reaching Shuimo Township, Salvation Army personnel found that most of the houses were either seriously damaged or had collapsed. They immediately distributed instant noodles, sausages, and children’s books to the survivors. A second batch of relief supplies, including 300 bags of rice and 100 barrels of cooking oil, has already been sent to the area for distribution.
The Salvation Army is appealing to its supporters to donate to its relief response in China, and it will also apply for funding from the Chinese Government’s Disaster Relief Fund in order to put in place a large-scale relief plan.
Report by IHQ Communications