Monday, May 19, 2008

Earthquake Update

One week ago today a 7.9 magnitude earthquake devastated Sichuan Province and surrounding areas. Since then the reports have been grim. The death toll has climbed to 32,476 people nationwide, 220,109 people have been injured. Aftershocks have been estimated in the thousands with one on Sunday as big as 6.1. Landslides have hindered rescue efforts and flooding remains a constant fear.

A tragedy of huge proportions to be sure. But, within this great devastation are stories of great compassion and heroism. There are stories of people loading food, clothing, tents and water into their cars and driving to the affected areas to help; taxi drivers lined up for hours to take the injured to the hospital; people waiting in line for hours to donate blood and offers to adopt children orphaned by this earthquake. It seems the worst in Mother Nature brings out the best in Human Nature.

We have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from our donors. We are posting updates on our website as soon as we receive news from our staff in China

We have also set up an “Earthquake Relief Fund” where 100% of donations received will go to help children affected by this tragedy. We will focus our efforts on orphanages and orphaned children needing assistance. We are unable to get assistance immediately to the orphanages affected as many roads are blocked. However, we have spoken to Chinese government officials and have pledged that we will assist wherever we can once the long-term implications of the quake are known. Additionally, an LWB Board member will be meeting with the CCAA next week about how we can best help children and orphanages affected by this disaster.

Unfortunately, we have been told to expect many more children to be orphaned due to this tragedy. Because of this, orphanages will need assistance with basic supplies and medical care to help meet the needs of these children. We may also be able to help with building repairs so the children can be safely moved back into the orphanages. Funds may also be used to help children who are not orphaned. We thank you for your generosity in helping us to help children of China.

Our heartfelt condolences are sent for lives lost and damage incurred as a result of this disaster.