Chinese churches and Christian agencies, as well as the government and army, have begun responding to the recent earthquake. The quake, measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale, has devastated a region west of the provincial capital Chengdu.
Latest figures coming out of China are for over 20,000 dead or wounded in Beichuan County. The epicenter of the earthquake was in Wenchuan county. With a population of around 110,000, over 60,000 are still unaccounted for.
In Du Jiangyan city, a school with over 1000 students collapsed. Only 58 have been found alive, the rest are still missing. Several more school buildings are reported to have collapsed in Wenchuan county. The priority at the moment is to clear roads to the stricken areas, and to provide food and shelter to families who have lost homes.
Both Amity Foundation and Jinde Charities are coordinating an emergency response to the disaster in conjunction with their local church networks, local partners and other Chinese NGOs.
They both have experience working on emergency relief are initially focussing their efforts on the provision of food and water, medicines, sanitation, quilts and temporary shelters for earthquake victims.
They will also offer on-going support as communities try to rebuild their lives after the devastation that has hit them.
With thanks to Caroline Fielder, China director at Churches Together in Britain and Ireland