Thousands homeless in China

Thousands are now homeless in NW China due to an 6.8 earthquake last month.


"Water, power supply lines and communication services were almost all destroyed"

—Ping Ping Shao, Amity Foundation

Thousands are now homeless after a 6.8 magnitude earthquake struck a remote portion of northwestern China Feb. 24, according to relief workers responding to the region.

The quake killed at least 268 people and injured more than 4,000. Hundreds of aftershocks, some as strong as 5.5 on the Richter scale, followed the initial temblor in this poor rural area called Xinjiang Autonomous Region.

More than 8,800 homes were destroyed and another 9,000 incurred severed damage, according to the Amity Foundation, a relief group associated with Action by Churches Together (ACT).

"Water, power supply lines and communication services were almost all destroyed," reported Ping Ping Shao, a relief worker with the Amity Foundation.

Most of the victims came from one village, composed almost entirely of the Ugyur ethnic minority, according to Oxfam International.

"Government relief activities are well under way. Materials are being transported to the quake-hit areas. The victims are being cared for, and the basic needs taken care of," according to ACT. "However, there are still great needs. The snowfall and low temperatures have made life very difficult for people who do not have adequate shelter and protection against the elements."

Working through its partners in China, Church World Service has provided an initial grant of $50,000 for blankets and bedding according to Donna Derr, CWS associate director. Amity has estimated an initial budget of $427,406 for the provision of tents and quilts and the rebuilding of homes, schools and water towers.

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