Saturday, May 17, 2008

The earthquake and how we can help the most vulnerable

I found the website of another adoptive family today that posted the daily update from the Half the Sky Foundation. That's an organization that works with orphanages in China to provide needed supplies and services. They are putting daily updates on the website with news of what is happening and what is needed at each associated orphanage in the earthquake zone. Many of the children are living in tents and supplies are desperately needed. Many more children have been brought to the orphanage because they have lost their families. Wonderfully, many many Chinese families have already applied to adopt children these earthquake orphans.

Here is today's update reposted, but you can visit the Half the Sky website for more information and to keep abreast of the news coming from the affected areas.


Half the Sky Earthquake Update - May 17

May 17th, 2008

Dear Friends,

It is mid-weekend now in China so we are not getting a daily call from the ministry. But I do have further information to share with you.

First, children in the institutions are all still well. We have now reached reached every affected institution, with the exception of Aba Tibetan-Qiang Autonomous Prefecture where the orphanage is said to house 52 children. We will let you know as soon as we make contact.

It turns out the Mianzhu SWI, which we’d had trouble reaching, was leveled in the quake. There was one fatality, an elderly resident. Thankfully, all of the children were in community foster care and all are fine.

As of today (Saturday) there were 28,881 people confirmed dead. There were a very small number of live rescues, but the teams have not given up hope. Cities like Mianyang have become refugee centers. 20,000 homeless who have come on foot from nearby towns are living in the local stadium; many more thousands have no place to go. 4.7 million homes have been destroyed. 169,000 people are injured.

Ma Lang tells us that although the rescue resources keeping coming in, one concern is the uneven distribution of much needed goods. “Counties and townships that have been the focus in media coverage receive more resources (sometimes more than enough); while in some other areas, there is little. In Qingchuan, people are surviving on one bottle of water and two cookies per day.”

In the schools that did not collapse (almost 7,000 classrooms were destroyed) the education bureaus are working to care for displaced children. They need tents, blankets, masks, rice, noodles, oil, flashlights, disposable underwear and antiseptic wipes. Many of those items and the items are are requested by the welfare institutions are no longer available in Chengdu.
With the funds you have donated, HTS has a team of volunteer shoppers scouring Chengdu and we have a network of staff and volunteers seeking out needed items throughout China.

Today, with your help, we purchased 100 large refugee tents to house children who are in need of shelter. We have arranged to purchase more later this week but want to be sure we can properly distribute first. It is not easy to find goods now or to get them where they need to go. But everyone is working together to help the children.

As you have heard, this tragic event has both killed children and created orphans. A group of new orphans has been transported to Chengdu. We expect to have more information soon.

Meanwhile, the orphanage in Chengdu experienced a magnitude 5.9 aftershock yesterday (there have been 23 major aftershocks ranging from 5-6.9 on the Richter Scale!) and is preparing, if necessary, to move the children completely out of what was considered to be the most solid building. They have requested tents, which we are providing immediately.

Here are answers to some of your questions, the best we can offer right

How can one donate goods?
We do not have the means to facilitate bringing goods into the country or distributing them where they are needed. If you are in China and have access to the following items and have means to deliver them to the Chengdu airport, please contact me: folding cots & cribs, 100 or more blankets, 100 or more pairs of children’s shoes, 100 or more large tarpaulins, 2 cases or more of children’s antibiotics (Zithromax, Amoxycillin, Penicillin, Klarithromycin, Erythromycin, Augmentin), 2 cases or more of anti-diarrheal meds (Charcoal Tablets, Kaolin), 2 cases or more of children’s anti-cold and cough meds (Dimetapp, Actifed, Robitussin) and/or 4 cases or more of rehydration salts/liquids (Pedialyte, Gatorade, Gastrolyte, ORS, Pocari Sweat). Please understand, we appreciate your wish to send items but we are not a relief agency (though we’re starting to feel like one!) and we just don’t have the mechanism or means to move your goods where they will do good. The very best way to help is to donate funds.

How many children will we help?
We can’t yet know. There are not yet statistics that separate affected children from adults. There are not yet statistics regarding the numbers of new orphans, numbers of affected orphans, numbers of displaced children who will eventually be reunited with their families. We will provide when we can.

How can one adopt newly orphaned children?
It is too early to know how many orphans have been created by the disaster. There is also much desire among the Chinese people to provide loving homes for the children who’ve lost their parents. The government’s first priority is to take care of the children’s urgent needs – to provide them with shelter, food, medical care and a nurturing environment. Half the Sky is doing its best to support this process. There will then be efforts to reunite children with relatives. Eventually, if parents or relatives can’t be located, the children will be placed for adoption.
Several hundred Chinese citizens have already submitted applications to the Sichuan Civil Affairs Bureau!

Please give what you can to help the children who survive go on with their lives.

If you would like to donate to Half the Sky’s Children’s Earthquake Fund, it would be great if you would do so at Global Giving as (even though they take 10% for processing and we do not (100% to the kids but at cost to our
programs) it allows HTS staff to focus on relief efforts while keeping our programs going.

If you prefer to donate directly to Half the Sky, of course that’s fine.
Here are the various ways: You can donate by calling Half the Sky (+1 510
525 3377) or on our website:’s+Earthquake+Fund

I am told that many companies (was specifically informed about Microsoft and Citibank) will match employee gifts for earthquake relief. Please check to see if your company will double your gift!

If you would like a Canadian tax receipt, please donate at

If you would like a Hong Kong tax receipt, please call us at +852 2520
5266 or online at

Your donations to support relief efforts for the children have been so generous. It is deeply moving to see how many people care.

with love,

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