Sichuan Earthquake and one way to help

I received a phone call on Saturday with a request that I relay a specific need for aid in the Sichuan region.  The Chengdu YMCA contacted the Guangzhou YMCA asking for specific assistance.  (Chengdu City is in the earthquake zone and while it was not a full 7.9 on the richter scale, I understand that the quake there was a 7.5.)

The YMCA and YWCA in Chengdu (operating jointly) help to support an orphanage in that region.  The YMCA and YWCA in China are not exactly the same as their counterparts I am familiar with in the USA.  Here, they are one of the very few registered, Christian organizations and involved in direct outreach in that capacity.  They do many, many activities that fall under the general heading of social work, reaching hundreds of people in each city where the Y is located (e.g. Guangzhou, Chengdu, Nanjing, Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjian, Wuhan, etc).  There is both a religious and a nonreligious component of the outreach of the YMCA.  (I won’t try to explain more.  If you are interested in learning more, I can put you in direct contact with them.)

The phone call I received was from a Y staff member because she knew I might have contacts in the foreign community here. 

There was some language translation issue.  I may be mistaken about the facts.  But I believe the orphanage that is sponsored by the YMCA is in or near Beichuan, which was at or near the epicenter of the earthquake.  In fact, I was told, it was YMCA volunteers who showed the way for the PLA to reach Beichuan (or the orphanage) after the earthquake had destroyed the roads going into the town.  This was because of their familiarity with the rural area.  I hate to report this, but I was told that what they found in the mountains that entire villages in remote areas had been buried in mudslides.  There are steep mountains, with the villages nestled in the valleys.  Entire villages have been wiped out, and I think these are not accounted for in the terrible numbers we are already hearing.  The mountains are virtually impassable in these areas because of the mudslides. 

The good news is that I understand that the orphans have been collected and are being taken care of by the YMCA.  Unfortunately, the YMCA building lost its roof.  The YMCA is therefore requesting donations in the form of cash to help address the most desperate needs of the children, of the community, and for a new roof. 

I was told that the best way to get money to the YMCA is by direct wire transfer into its bank account in China.  For obvious reasons, I prefer to stay out of any communication loop when it comes to money!   Therefore,  if anyone is interested in this, please either contact the YMCA or YWCA directly, or send me a message and I will put you in direct contact with them. 

(Some YMCA / YWCA pages in China: 
Guangzhou http://www.gzywca.org
Nanjing http://www.njymca-ywca.org/intro.html  
Xiamen:  http://www.amoymagic.com/YMCA.htm
Beijing:  http://www.ymcabj.org.cn/


Here in Guangzhou, I didn’t feel a bit of a tremor last Monday.  But the outpouring of help here has been amazing.  I’ve seen people lined up at booths where donations were being accepting, waiting to give aid.  People are donating blood and supplies as well.  Not only has the media been given access, but people’s attention has
been riveted on the earthquake zone.  Everywhere there is a television or radio, it is tuned to
the news and people are following it closely — waitresses in
restaurants, taxi drivers, workers in offices, etc. 

I’m not at all surprised by the openness of the government in its quick response and in allowing news reports of the rescue efforts.  What other reaction could there be, after the shocking neglect by the government in Myanmar?  Surely that regime’s bizarre behavior illustrates a policy that no nation would emulate.  Rather, to see such a position from the viewpoint of an outsider may provide a mirror by which to gauge one’s own actions.  If anything, I would expect any observer of the Myanmar situation to make a proactive decision to welcome aid and any intervention that would save lives.

I’m glad we can be thankful that the Chinese government is pouring its resources into relief efforts as well as accepting aid from other nations to reduce the loss of life. 

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