Sudden hailstorm hits China


"“The destruction is tremendous. Roads, croplands and public facilities were severely damaged. Hospitals were full of people with heads bleeding.”"

—Shao Ping Ping

Floods that have plagued much of central China in June were made worse this weekend when a violent hailstorm pelted the region.

A gasoline station in Zhengzhou City that was turned upside down left five people dead and seven injured, said Shao Ping Ping, a relief worker with The Amity Foundation.

“The wall of a fodder-processing plant collapsed in Liuzhuang Village, Liulin Township,” she said. “Four workers died and two were injured. Meanwhile, the ceilings of the warehouses of the plant were blown up. Fifteen people were squashed inside, and six of them died.”

Ping said most hail was the size of eggs and peanuts.

“The destruction is tremendous. Roads, croplands and public facilities were severely damaged. Hospitals were full of people with heads bleeding.”

Two torrential downpours took the homes of a multitude of people in central and western China in June. According to Church World Service, more than 280 residents have lost their lives and 20 million people have been seriously affected by this disaster.

CWS Associate Director for International Response Donna Derr said CWS is responding to the situation through partner agency The Amity Foundation.

"Because this occurred in a province that was different from the two we were working in, they're [Amity] doing an assessment to see if there's any assistance they can offer," she said.

The floods, which have come in two waves early in June, have crippled daily life for the residents of Western and Central China. Homes, crops, power, water, communication and roads have been severely damaged.

All roads leading to villages in the Jiangkou Township were destroyed this weekend, said Ping.

“Thirty-percent of the croplands are buried deep inside the 4-to-5 meter thick rocks, stones and sands washed down from the mountains. Houses of 408 families out of a total of 1866 families need to be rebuilt.”

The Central Chinese government provided about 0.2 billion Yuan (more than $24 million U.S. dollars) for emergency relief, and the Ministry of Health donated bout 2 million Yuan (about $240 U.S. dollars) reported The Amity Foundation Web site. Aid agencies say monetary help is still needed.

“The flood victims there will have a lot to do and will confront many difficulties and hardships,” said Ping. “They are now focusing their time and efforts on rebuilding the roads as it is the top priority. They will need to rebuild communication and power supply facilities, iron-rope bridges. They will be working on restoring the destroyed croplands buried deep inside the rocks and stones.”

With winter 4 or 5 months away, many who have found themselves homeless will have to rebuild their destroyed homes soon.

“They need clothing and quilts to keep away winter cold,” she said. “However, they could never cope with all these alone relying on themselves.”

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Related Links:

• Find out more about Ping's efforts through her relief organization: The Amity Foundation

• Visit the Church World Service's Web site to learn more about needs in China: Church World Service


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