The relief team on their way back with a injured solider
Caritas partners are struggling to reach Taiping, a remote township near the epicentre of Saturday’s deadly earthquake.
The earthquake of 6.6 magnitudes struck the province of Sichuan in Southwest China on 20 April, killing nearly 200 people, leaving thousands of people injured and causing significant damages.
Staff members from a local Caritas partner organisation, Jinde Charities, flew immediately to the disaster zone where they have been able to provide some aid through church networks.
Mary Wu of the relief team said they learned that the situation in Taiping is very serious so they took an ambulance from a church-run hospital there.
But landslides caused by aftershocks prevented them reaching the town. More than 1,000 aftershocks have been reported after earthquake.The government stopped ngos from proceeding, fearing accidents. However, the Jinde team were able to take an injured soldier back for treatment.
By Debbie Lo, Caritas Hong Kong
Many thanks for the concerns and prayers for the victims of the Qinghai earthquake in mainland China!
Just a short note to share with you what Caritas-HK and our local partner, Xian Catholic Social Service Center have been doing for the earthquake survivors.
Right after the earthquake on 14 April, Mainland Service Desk of Caritas-HK had contacted our local partner, Xian Catholic Social Service Centre (XCSSC) to see what we can do for the victims. However, the altitude of the quake-hit area in Qinghai province is about 4,000 m. It is not easy to check the situation and needs over there within a short period of time. It was only 19 April that we received an update from XCSSC about their assessment trip in the quake-hit area in Qinghai which is as follow:
The weather in the quake-hit region is bad with snow and intermittent rain in these few days, which have increased the suffering of survivors sleeping outdoors after thousands of homes collapsed. The bad weather threatens transportation and relief work. Rescuers and survivors face frequent aftershocks. Up to now, more than 1200 aftershocks have shaken the region since the main earthquake. The local government is afraid that the icy weather will bring more misery in the days ahead. Continue reading
By Caritas Taiwan staff
Caritas Taiwan and its partners in China including the Lama group have immediately responded to the needs of the earthquake survivors in the western province of Qinghai in China.
The whole afternoon yesterday, our partners in China completed the impossible task. The goods listed below were already bought and delivered to the devastated area for distribution.
1) 100 quilts – $90/piece (7 pounds heavy)
2) 200 cotton-padded jackets – $80/piece
3) 200 pairs of leather shoes – $25/pair
4) 46 cotton-padded jackets for small boys.
5) 51 cotton-padded jackets for small girls.
The disaster relief centre requests that all relief goods and materials will be put together or to be channeled through the “government affairs office” in Yu-su. But we brought our relief goods to Nang Qian.
After arriving, our team drove the goods to the disaster site. The government is regulating the entrance of vehicles for safety and is prioritizing those who are delivering relief assistance. We are thankful for our local partners who are familiar with the area. The government is distributing relief commodities in the town centre, so we distributed the goods to the people whom the government has not reached.
Caritas Taiwan Director Fr. Peter Mertens, Sr. Emma Lee, and priests who are working for the migrants. Credit: Caritas
By Caritas Taiwan
For the occasion of Women’s Day, Caritas Taiwan participated in the rally organized by Migrant Empowerment Network in Taiwan in front of Executive Yuan on March 5, 2010. The NGOs have been lobbying the concerns of domestic workers and caregivers who are mostly women, to be included in the Labor Standards Law.
In the situation of Taiwan, caregivers who are also considered as domestic workers are working for as much as 12.5 hours a day and they neither received overtime pay nor avail of one day off per week because employers do not allow them. Thus, they are vulnerable to stress and some recourse to running-away from their employers and become irregular or undocumented.
For several years, the NGOs that are serving migrant workers have been lobbying for the revision of the Household Service Act which governs the domestic workers.
The basic needs of the workers should not be denied nor regarded as merely public responsibility. It should be included in the Labor Standards Law to protect the rights of the migrant workers.
According to the statistics of the Bureau of Employment and Vocation Training, Taiwan has a total number of 353,805 migrant workers as of January 2010, with Indonesians as the largest in number followed by Vietnamese, Filipinos and Thai.
For several years now, Justice and Peace and Caritas Taiwan has been serving Filipino, Indonesian, and Thai migrant workers.
Caritas staff, Bernadette Huang delivering aid
by Bernadette Huan of Caritas Taiwan
On August 18, CARITAS Taiwan loaded 500 charity bags to be delivered to the church in Kaoshiung for the typhoon victims. Fr. Sié distributed 50 to the people of Taoyuan county.
In the morning of August 19, 450 bags were brought Neipu school in Pintung where Sr. Ma, the secretary of Fr. Du and some volunteers, were taking charge of a concern desk that helps typhoon victims.
The following day, 200 charity bags were transported by helicopter to Wu-Tai village. Mr. Hai-Gui with the social worker of Wenzao Ursuline College of Languages and the Daughters of Charity distributed 200 charity bags to the people in Liu Gui church.
Catholic News Service reported that Pope Benedict XVI offered his prayers for the peoples of the Philippines, Taiwan, China and Japan facing the death and destruction of recent typhoons and earthquakes.
“I want to demonstrate my spiritual closeness to all those who find themselves in situations of serious difficulty and I ask everyone to pray for them and for those who lost their lives,” the pope said Aug. 12 at the end of his weekly general audience.
“I hope the relief of solidarity and the help of material aid will not be lacking,” he told pilgrims gathered in the courtyard of the papal villa at Castel Gandolfo.
Typhoon Morakot already left Taiwan leaving behind a mark of destruction and damages.
Until today, the news in Taiwan continue to account the number of casualties and damages caused by typhoon Morakot.
In southeastern Taitung County, more than 500 people, mostly aboriginal residents, were evacuated to safety while 51 houses were flushed into the Pacific by the raging water brought by torrential rains and more houses were totally damaged.
A village in Kaoshiung is believed to have been buried by mudslides. While in another village, only 44 of the more than 1,300 registered residents managed to avoid the mudslides. A rescued villager believed that as many as 600 people were still buried by the mud.
Many villages cannot be reached by the rescue teams because flood waters destroyed bridges. Thus, many people in the villages are airlifted and evacuated to safer place.
The flood waters in some parts of Taiwan have not yet subsided. Rescue operation of the government has been going on. As the weather becomes clearer, accounted number of deaths, injured and missing residents continue to toll.
Diocesan Caritas continue to gather information to determine the needs of the typhoon victims.
Typhoon Morakot brought heavy rainfall to the south of Taiwan, the heaviest rain over the past 50 years.
According to the central government’s disaster response center, 1 person, a 67 year-old woman has been killed after she fell off her motorbike while riding in strong winds and heavy rain. Four people are missing and 15 have been injured during the typhoon.
Several southern Taiwan counties experienced flooding; roads and bridges were closed while residents were evacuated from flooded villages.
In some parts of the country, there were mudslides that claimed a huge amount of agricultural losses.
The aborigines in Taiwan were the most affected by typhoon Morakot because it destroyed their residences and damaged their livelihood.
Aside from the dioceses of Taipei and Hsinchu, Caritas Taiwan has been contacting the 5 dioceses of Taiwan, namely: Taichung, Chiayi, Tainan, Kaoshiung and Hualien, to verify the situation of their places and of the people to determine the relief assistance they needed.