May 29, 2008

Update from Sichuan Province, 5/29/08

Dear Friends,

As aftershocks continue to strike, including dual tremors that more collapsed more than 400,000 homes earlier this week, Mercy Corps is on the ground assisting earthquake survivors in China's Sichuan Province. After procuring and delivering 22 truckloads of critical supplies — such as water, noodles, milk and shelter items — to displaced families who have lost their homes, we are now coordinating plans for longer-term recovery and reconstruction, and are especially focused on education, counseling and activities for youth.

On Tuesday May 27, a Mercy Corps-coordinated shipment containing nearly three tons of medical supplies for survivors and affected communities arrived in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province. This effort, called "Flight of Hope," was made possible by collaboration with Boeing, Shenzen Airlines and Medical Teams International. Upon the cargo's arrival, these supplies were transferred to local health authorities for usage at hospitals and temporary health facilities around the region.

There are also great needs for temporary schools, counseling and other activities for children in earthquake-shattered rural areas.

To serve these needs, we will be helping children and youth recover through our Comfort For Kids and Moving Forward Sports for Youth programs. We are translating "My Earthquake Story" — a variation on the "My Hurricane Story" workbook that was widely used in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina — into Mandarin Chinese and adapting it specifically for children in Sichuan Province. Senior-level psychologists, including the Chinese American Psychoanalytic Alliance (CAPA), are working with Mercy Corps on the adaptations, translations and training for local teachers and other caregivers. This workbook is appropriate for children of all ages, from toddlers through older youth. Thousands of copies will be distributed as part of the psychosocial program that we're planning to initiate in affected areas.

Two Mercy Corps youth programming experts have been deployed to China to help begin and implement psychosocial activities. Through its Comfort for Kids methodology — developed with Bright Horizons, the renowned early childhood education company — Mercy Corps has worked with post-trauma children around the world in trying to help them regain some sense of normalcy.

Your generous donations have helped us mount a robust emergency response — and will help us make a difference for youth whose lives have been disrupted by tragedy. Thank you for your support.

Best regards, Roger Burks

May 15, 2008

Update from Sichuan, China

Dear Friends,

It's the end of another busy day here in Sichuan Province. Today was a sad day -- not many survivors have been found in areas devastated by the earthquake. The sheer scale and loss of this tragedy is hitting people hard.

Because you've made a donation to Mercy Corps, I wanted to write and give you an update of what's going on here. I'm currently in the city of Chongqing with two Mercy Corps colleagues. We set up a emergency response center today with our local partner, the China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation. We'll be conducting all our relief operations from there. Crews have started reaching devastated cities, and now is the critical time to help survivors.

Today, we bought enough water, noodles, milk, crackers and shelter supplies to fill 22 truckloads. Those items are bound for Mianyang, a city about three hours from here that was absolutely ravaged by the earthquake. At least 7,300 people were killed in that city alone, and many more are missing. People are sleeping on the streets because they're afraid their homes will collapse from aftershocks.

Things are changing so fast. Today I felt that chaos. But your generous donations are helping rush relief to survivors. You are making a difference.

My colleagues and I will continue to post updates on the situation at Thank you again for your support. We couldn't do this without you.


Kate Janis Senior Program Officer Mercy Corps

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