Baptists aid earthquake relief in China

ASSOCIATED BAPTIST PRESS Bob Allen — The World Relief Office of American Baptist Churches USA is sending $10,000 in emergency relief funds from the One Great Hour of Sharing offering to aid earthquake victims in China.

Funds will be divided evenly between two International Ministries partners: the Amity Foundation, an independent Chinese voluntary organization created at the initiative of Chinese Christians in 1985, and the China Christian Council, an umbrella organization representing 16 million Protestants in the People’s Republic of China founded in 1980.

The Amity Foundation hands out emergency relief supplies to earthquake victims. (Amity Foundation photo)The Amity Foundation, which recruits Americans to teach English as a second language in China from international partners including the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, immediately dispatched help to the Gansu Province in northwest China after two powerful earthquakes devastated the region July 22.

The earthquakes near Dingxi caused 95 deaths and injured 1,001. Nearly 2,000 homes were destroyed and about 22,500 severely damaged.

Amity workers distributed flour, bottled drinking water and instant noodles in a dozen villages in the farming region that is one of China’s poorest areas. Average incomes are low, and many of the affected homes were crudely built from mud bricks.

“We would be grateful for any possible help you might extend to the quake-hit residents,” Miao Jianbing of the Amity Foundation said in an online appeal. “Please keep the victims, their families and the Amity staffers in Dingxi in your prayers.”

Part of Amity’s Teachers Program, which invites people from around the world — recruited and sponsored by church agencies — to teach English, Japanese or German in Chinese colleges, is taking place in Gansu Province. The teaching center in Baiyin is 120 miles away from the epicenter, and all teachers there were reported safe.

Compounding suffering are weeks of heavy rain in a normally dry and mountainous area along the Yellow River, setting off landslides in terraced hillsides weakened by the quake.

One landslide buried 13 people in Nanyu village. Nine bodies have been recovered, and rescue efforts were underway in the neighboring village of Yongguang, where four people were buried and listed as missing.

“Local residents are suffering one disaster after another,” Miao said.

Yiyi Liu, a staff member in the China Christian Council’s social service department, said pastoral staffs in Gansu are assessing the situation and will provide information on needs as they arise.

“CCC is paying close attention to the developing situation and will call for helping hands to support those who are in need now,” the official told American Baptist News Service.

Bob Allen is managing editor of Associated Baptist Press.
The Amity Foundation hands out emergency relief supplies to earthquake victims. (Amity Foundation photo)

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