In the midst of Lunar New Year, millions of people are affected by China's worst snowstorm in 50 years. Operation Blessing, a Christian NGO, has sent disaster relief teams into the rural areas of China, where orphans and elderly are suffering.
Teaming up with China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation, Operation Blessing disaster relief team traveled to Chenzhou, carrying huge amount of medicine and blankets with them on Feb. 4. Their first destination was the Chenzhou Social-welfare Orphanage, where 150 orphans and 20 elderly people stayed, and they delivered 426 bags of formula milk powder, 14,000 diapers and two suitcases of medicine.
At the orphanage, OB relief team ran basic health checkups on each child. All the babies’ body temperature were low and one new-born had Scleredema (caused by lack of warmth and nutrition). They gave out chocolate and cereal bars to the kids for regaining energy. They also provided 50 safe and long-lasting bed warmers. They also visited the nursing home for the impoverished elders, where 20 elders were there. The cold affected their sleeping quality and health status, so OB provided them with handheld warmers to make their winter easier.
Seeing their presence and care, one elderly held the hands of an OB staff tightly and repeatedly saying, “Thank you for your kindness and wish you peace!”
Visiting SuXianLing in Chenzhou, Operation Bless relief team saw the lack of daily basic essentials for the residents there, which is a stark contrast to their city-dwelling neighbors. Damage to homes and losses from agriculture will not be compensated by insurance in this part of the country, so the locals will have to bear the burdens entirely. There was no water supply, no electricity, and no machines or equipments to clear the road, so they had to clear the roads with their hands.
At the Suxianling Orphanage, the relief team brought new jackets for 150 children. As it is the tradition for Chinese to put on new clothes on New Year’s even, the children were delighted when they received their gifts. At the same time, local helpers were busy offloading $10,000 USD worth of milk powder and diapers purchase the day before.
OB also visited 150 elderly homeless people in Chenzhou Rural Nursing Home. Volunteers from local churches joined them in distributing winter coast.
Chenzhou municipality is 74% rural – out of 4 million people in Chenzhou, only 400,000 are in the city; the rest are in the rural area. The discussion of restored electricity does not accurately portray the reality for those in the rural parts of the municipality.
A second Operation Blessing disaster relief team headed to a much remote area.
Together with TSPM church pastor, Operation Blessing relief team spent the Chinese New Year with the elderly, most of who are without children or relatives to spend this holiday together. They distributed items of warmth – quilts, winter coats and electric blankets – and offered words of hope and comfort.
Driving on muddy roads filled with puddles, OB traveled to a village 20 minutes away. The crops and bamboo plantations have all been frozen, and many of their already weak building structures have been exacerbated by the heavy snow fall. Villagers fear that their building will collapse and the roofs of many household have been damaged.
In this area of extreme poverty, there are no phones, so the only way to find out the condition is to visit.