Rescue shifts to recovery as relief presses into the mountains

By May 1, 2013

China (MNN) — Rescue is becoming recovery in rural China.

Some 2 million people were affected by a 6.6 earthquake that hit the backwoods of Sichuan province recently. New reports reveal the death toll stands at 196, with 21 missing and over 13,000 injured.

Ground in the area remains unstable, posing a constant threat to aid workers. Getting to the quake zone to help survivors is extremely difficult, as terrain is mountainous and landslides are a continuous danger.

No matter what challenges their teams face, Jeff Palmer of Baptist Global Response says they keep shining the hope of Christ.

"It's not just about food; it's also about the Bread of Life that lasts forever," Palmer says. "It's not just about water; it's about Living Water that quenches thirst for eternity."

Ask God to protect BGR teams as they bring help and hope.

"Pray that our people going in would find those in need and show compassion, love, and give a message of hope to those who are suffering," requests Palmer.

BGR officials in Singapore say 90% of all homes incurred enough damage from the quake to render them unlivable. Right now, BGR is helping survivors primarily through food distribution, water, and temporary shelter.

"All the water sources in the cities have been damaged, so we are having to pull water in from the polluted rivers to be filtered," says Pam Wolf, who leads BGR work in the Asia Rim. "We have not seen any toilets brought in or built either, so sanitation is also a problem."

BGR's initial focus is getting water purification machines into the 30 counties and towns China's government has identified for rebuilding.

"Eventually, we'll be moving into things like kitchenware, home replacement items, and things like that," Palmer says.

Click here to help quake survivors through BGR's General Disaster Relief Fund.

It can be easy to focus on statistics and lose sight of how individual lives are impacted by a disaster like this. Palmer is quick to point out that occasionally, BGR workers are the first Christians earthquake survivors ever encounter.

"This is a great way to show them the love of Christ, and then to have opportunity also to share verbally the life of Christ," says Palmer. "Our response [to disaster] should be based upon the love of Christ that's in us."

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