This year, many natural disasters have
struck China: earthquakes in Xinjiang, Yunnan and Inner Mongolia, as well
as floods in Guizhou, Anhui and Gansu.
Undoubtedly, natural and human-made disasters, no matter where they take place, cause a great loss of life and property. Not only do disasters affect people's daily lives, such as going to work or school, but they also affect socio-economic development. As poor people's livelihoods are usually unstable, they are more vulnerable when disasters strike their community. The extent of the damage is usually more serious and it is more difficult for them to regain what they had lost.
To ensure everyone has the right to life and security has long been one of the aims of Oxfam Hong Kong. Through a comprehensive set of strategies on disaster management, we integrate disaster prevention, mitigation, preparedness, emergency relief and rehabilitation into our anti-poverty projects in mainland China. Taking into account the various situations and available resources in the affected area, we then provide an appropriate humanitarian response. The purpose of our disaster management work is thus to help people in impoverished areas to improve their ability to prevent disasters, reduce people's suffering through emergency relief, and at the same time assist them in rebuilding their communities.
What this means is that your donation helps victims at the time of the disaster, as well as in the future, with Oxfam's long-term community development work. Please support Oxfam Hong Kong's disaster management work and help poor people in China to get rid of poverty.
*Ways to donate:
- DIRECT DEPOSIT into any of these Oxfam Hong Kong accounts: Bank of China: 012-874-0-010515-7 Hang Seng Bank: 284-401080-003.
- CHEQUE payable to "Oxfam Hong Kong" (please write "China Disaster Relief Appeal 2003" on the back) to GPO Box 8428.
- PPS - PAYMENT BY PHONE SERVICE Call 18033 to use Payment by Phone Service or use their website: www.ppshk.com.
- ONLINE DONATION: Please go to https://www.oxfam.org.hk/form/2003IT014eo.shtml
# Donations of HK$100 or above are tax-deductible.
* Please note that should there be any unused donations from this emergency appeal, Oxfam will use the funds towards another emergency effort, rehabilitation project or general anti-poverty work in China.
Floods in Gansu
Because of hail and torrential rain, 31 floods have struck Gansu Province from January to mid-July 2003. These disasters have so far destroyed more than 1.35 million hectares of farmland, caused more than 10 deaths, and affected more than 680,000 people in 25 counties (e.g. Yuzhong, Min, Li, Dangchang, Wudu and Liangdang).
The flood in Zhang County of Dingxi District on 22 July was even worse, affecting more than 67,000 people. More than 10 people died, 1,300 houses were damaged, more than 600 houses collapsed, and tens of thousands of people were left homeless. As Zhang County is situated in a remote mountainous area with limited resources, people are in urgent need of outside help.
Emergency relief and Rehabilitation
Oxfam Hong Kong decided to make an initial commitment of RMB500,000 to assist over 6,000 people in the 29 worst-hit villages.
Natural disasters like drought, hailstorms, floods, and landslides have been occurring in Yunnan throughout the year.
Drought: Since Spring, areas in Yunnan have been experiencing different extents of drought. In just a month's time, from 20th June to 20th July, more than 610,000 hectares of crops were affected by drought in the province. About 11,500,000 people and 710,000 animals are in short of water, and nearly 500 reservoirs are drying up. In many mountainous areas, the water shortage is even worse.
Floods: From mid-May to 24th July, owing to an uneven distribution of rainfall, while some areas are affected by drought, other areas are experiencing torrential rain. Such heavy rainfalls can trigger floods and landslides, which in turn cause serious damage to life and property. According to incomplete statistics, up to 24th July, about 13,000,000 of people have been affected by the disaster and 145,000 people have had to move to another location.
Since August, flooding has been occurring more frequently in Yunnan. According to the analysis of the relevant government department, floods and landslides have been occurring more frequently and more seriously than in previous years. With some rivers turning into a deluge, rescue work is very difficult.
Emergency Relief and Rehabilitation
The following points are conclusions of the characteristics of disasters in Yunnan this year:
- They occur frequently, causing numerous
houses to collapse. Farmers, who are under threat of landslides, urgently
need to move away. It is a difficult task to re-construct the disaster
- Most regions suffer from disasters repeatedly;
residents in such areas lead very difficult and insecure lives.
- Disasters often occur in poverty-stricken mountainous areas, and residents' capability to fight disasters and to undertake rescue work is weak.
As disasters in mountainous areas peak in August and September, we are continuing to monitor the occurrence of disasters, introducing the concept of disaster management to selected disaster areas, and launching community-based disaster management work.
Floods in Anhui
Huai He is a river that passes through Henan, Anhui, Jiangsu and Shandong. Since the end of June this year, its water level has raised tremendously due to frequent torrential raining, resulting in the most serious flood since 1991. In Anhui, the number of victims has already reached 27,000,000; 2,450,000 residents have been trapped by the flood; 360,000 houses have collapsed; and numerous schools and educational facilities have been damaged, resulting in many primary and secondary school students not being able to attend lessons.
At the end of July, Oxfam staff arrived in Anhui to assess the situation. They witnessed numerous houses, schools and hospitals damaged by the torrential rain, large areas of farms being flooded, and everywhere being swamped.
One of the most seriously affected areas was Zhangli Township, with 13 of its villages flooded. Three primary schools and its only hospital were also ruined. Roads, homes, schools, farms and ranches were flooded out, so some villagers needed to move to shelters situated in higher places.
Emergency Relief and Rehabilitation
After investigation, Oxfam recognized that the educational facilities in Anhui were seriously damaged, so we decided to offer more than 500,000 RMB to the most severely damaged townships, such as Fengzhuang, Jianshe and Zhangli of Shousxian, and Laoguan township of Funan County. One benefit was the provision of huge tents for primary schools that could not re-open in time for the new school year; these have acted as temporary schools. Supplies such as books, chairs and desks would also be provided for the locations mentioned above.
Such assistance aims at ensuring students who are affected by the disaster to start school as close to 1st September as possible. This helps the parents, too, as they don't have to stay at home to tend to their children - they can continue farming and help with rehabilitation projects in the community.