45-year old Madam Zhang He Yan and her husband scrambled to get their physically-handicapped sons, their daughter-in-law and one year old grandson out to safety when their mud-brick  house in Bai Yang Po village collapsed under a strong quake which struck the mountainous areas of Min and Zhang counties in Gansu province last Monday morning.  While they were all safe, they now have to stay separately at temporary shelters and relatives’ homes due to the lack of living spaces at the internally-displaced persons (IDPs) camp.  Madam Zhang’s family used to survive mainly on their small-scaled vegetables farm and animals, which are now buried under rubbles and mud.  With no home and means for sustenance, her family is dependent on the support from the government and aid organisations.

A week have passed, Madam Zhang is one of over 300,000 survivors still struggling to stabilise their lives.  Persistent rains have caused serious cases of mudslides, hindering the pace of aid efforts.  Survivors staying in temporary shelters have struggled with the cold and wet weather conditions, urgently requiring survival essentials such as beds, blankets and food.  Singapore’s Mercy Relief was at the worst-hit county of Min last weekend to deliver its second batch of relief supplies. The 4-man team distributed 500 blankets, food and 6,000 milk packs to 500 affected families at Bai Yang Po village.  The 2 batches of aid supplies worth  RMB140,000 (SGD28,000).

Meanwhile, over at Mei Chuan Township of Min county, the MR team met with 40-year old Madam Ma and her husband who recounted their experiences of, and prevailing needs since the quake.  The couple, who were vegetable garden farmers, now survive on eight packs of instant noodles every three days.

MR Senior Programme Manager for China, Tsai Pi Kuang commented from Min county, “The government announced that the acute relief phase would run for the first 15 days.  Thereafter, it would be damage assessment and costs analysis, followed by compensation and recovery.  Many of the affected communities are poor rural folks who have lost their homes, belongings, livelihoods and even small life-time savings.  While the government is addressing the structural and infrastructural needs, MR is working closely with our partners to fill key survival gaps to support these communities.”

In response to a direct request for humanitarian assistance from the Zhang County Poverty Alleviation & Development Bureau (ZCPADB), MR’s response team reached the quake-hit areas of Gansu province last Thursday afternoon.  A total of 1,000 families from both affected counties have benefited from the humanitarian assistance.

Back at its Singapore HQ, MR has launched a public fundraising appeal from 25th Jul  to 31st Aug 2013 to support its relief and recovery efforts for the quake victims.

 

(left) A man standing next to his damaged home at the quake’s epicentre in Mei Chuan township

(right) High cases of mudslides occurrences due to heavy downpours

Vulnerable groups including children living in poor conditions at temporary shelters.

 

Widespread devastation including Madam Zhang’s house (left), and her family of six who now has to live separately due to shortage of shelter (right).

 

(left) MR’s  second batch of aid supplies arriving at Min county’s distribution centre.

(right) A child from Bai Yang Po village carrying away a carton of milk packs.

Madam Ma (centre) and her husband (2nd from left) reflected on their escape from their collapsing home to MR manager Mary Wang.

* MR has been implementing relief and development projects in three provinces of China – Sichuan, Qinghai & Shanxi – continuously since 2008.  For more details on these efforts, please refer to the following link to read on these projects:  http://www.mercyrelief.org/web/Contents/Contents.aspx?Id=36

About Mercy Relief

Mercy Relief is a Singaporean humanitarian organisation which engages in both disaster relief and sustainable development programmes. It was established in 2003 as an independent non-governmental humanitarian charity responding to the human tragedies in Asia. Mercy Relief’s aid programme focuses on providing timely and effective assistance to disaster-stricken communities and has maintained the delivery of emergency aid within 72 hours from the point of appeal for assistance. 

In the past 12 years, Mercy Relief has disbursed over S$32 million in aid across 40 disaster relief and 53 sustainable development initiatives. Mercy Relief has impacted an aggregate of 2 million lives in 24 countries and areas, namely Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, DPR Korea, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Japan, Laos, Lebanon, Malaysia, the Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal,  Pakistan, Palestine, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam and Yemen.

For more information, you may call us at 6514 6322 or email corporateaffairs@mercyrelief.org