A Snow Storm Inspires a Warm Relief Effort
Compiled Report by fellow initiates in China (Originally in Chinese)
Beginning on January 12, 2008, the heaviest snowstorm in 50 years swept across China, affecting more than 80 million people in over ten provinces covering half the country from north to south. The harsh weather paralyzed traffic, stranding millions of people rushing home for the Lunar New Year. On hearing of the situation, our compassionate Master immediately instructed local fellow initiates to help the victims and allocated US$20,000 for the relief operation.
Early on February 3, the heavy snow finally stopped, and the initiates immediately ventured out to purchase relief supplies including rice, cooking oil, noodles, blankets, coats and other emergency items. They then made seven relief trips in rented vehicles to devastated areas in Feidong, Lujiang, Qingyang, Shucheng and Yuexi Counties, and to remote mountain towns. In addition to daily necessities, the initiates also distributed urgent relief funds to destitute households.
A local mayor in Yuexi County was amazed to see the sisters and brothers. “I have worked in this town for 22 years, but this is the first time that people have delivered relief materials directly to each household when we were most in need,” he said. “Eighty households here are already running out of food. Your help has arrived just in time !”
Before the snow disaster, initiates in Shaanxi Province had been helping needy people prepare for the cold winter by distributing warm clothing, shoes, hats, blankets and cash to orphans, destitute children, widows and sick elderly people. They also bought clothes and coal for the Shaanxi Provincial Children’s Home and the Shaanxi Province Children’s Village, which is run by a post-rehabilitation association.
After the snow disaster, the fellow initiates quickly went to render relief in impoverished areas in Baoji, including Long, Qianyang, Fengxiang and Linyou Counties, distributing flour, rice, vegetable oil, blankets and coats. They also contributed provisions and cash to homes for the elderly and orphanages. In particular, the initiates visited the neediest households and gave them urgent relief funds to overcome the ordeal, and were delighted to meet some strangers who volunteered to join in the relief work, greatly increasing their confidence.
More than 30 million people were affected by the harsh weather in Hunan Province, where the power supply, transportation and communication infrastructures were heavily damaged. In fact, the city of Chenzhou was completely without power and water, its virtual isolation drawing nationwide concern. On February 7, which coincidentally was Lunar New Year’s Day, local fellow initiates forfeited their family reunions to render relief in Guidong County, the worst-hit area in Chenzhou. Accompanied by the local mayor and other officials, the sisters and brothers personally distributed blankets, rice, oil and cash to victims in Hankou. The area’s power supply grid had been destroyed and power would not be restored for another six months, meaning that farmers could not thresh grain, and rice would be in short supply. So the initiates decided to contribute ten diesel generators to the town for this purpose. Then the following day, they went to Huitong Township, where they contributed 10,000 kg of rice to the victims and relief funds to needy families.
Since 2007, fellow initiates in Guizhou began conducting a door-to-door survey of needy elderly people in the city, and distributed relief materials and cash depending on their needs. The sisters and brothers visited 127 lonely old folks living in the community and three homes for the elderly, bringing the residents much joy and comfort.
During the snow disaster, the initiates cooperated with a local public-service group and, braving the thick snow, made a dangerous trip over 100 km of bad roads to Shima in Longli County. The volunteers had to travel in cross-country vehicles that they rented after much effort, and then visited and distributed 25 kg of rice to 103 households living on government subsidies. On the group’s second relief trip, which covered dozens of villages in three counties, they distributed relief materials and cash to the victims, including old folks in an elderly home.
On February 1, loaded with Master’s love and concern, the initiates distributed relief provisions including warm clothes, shoes, blankets, cakes and apples to destitute residents of Zhaotung City. Victims in remote areas received relief funds. The team also rendered help to affected households in Miao and Yi, indigenous communities in the mountains of Yiliang County.
Zhenxiong County is one of the poorest counties in the country and its inhabitants live in dire conditions, most without daily necessities. So the initiates distributed relief funds to the area’s needy victims, who were extremely touched that our group had come to give them care and love.
About 13 million people in Guangxi Province were affected by the severe weather, with the worst-hit area being Guilin. As poor road conditions had cut off access to the affected areas, the initiates delivered blankets, coats, army jackets and other warm items to the local Red Cross for distribution on their behalf. The fellow initiates also assisted the Red Cross in their relief work by sorting and packing used clothes donated by citizens and loading them onto trucks.
On February 11 and 14, the initiates also distributed relief supplies to Yao tribal villages in Guilin, and contributed a diesel generator to Pannei Village. Village officials were deeply grateful to have the generator to help them mill rice.
On February 23, the volunteers were informed that two mountain villages in Longsheng County were still without electricity and food was running scarce. So they immediately purchased and distributed 2,500 kg of rice to 100 households.
We sincerely pray to God to help the disaster victims pass through this ordeal
safely and resume their normal life soon.
Expenditures by Supreme Master Ching Hai and Her International Associationfor
Relief Aid to Victims of the Snow Storm Disaster in China
Sharing Divine Love with the Needy
Before the Lunar New Year of Golden Year 5 (2008), fellow initiates in Inner Mongolia visited a childrens welfare center and a home for the elderly in Hohhot City. The two shelters, accommodating 160 mentally disabled children and 216 senior citizens, respectively, are supported by government subsidies but also need love and concern from the general public. Fellow initiates prepared 10,000 vegetarian dumplings, and brought fresh fruits, candies, vegetarian fried eggs, 220 toiletry sets, and RMB10,000 to be shared with these underprivileged fellow citizens.
We thank God for giving us this opportunity to share Master’s divine love with these needy children and old folks before the Lunar New Year.