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Home Global Activities Asia Volunteers Help Flood-hit Beijing Residents

Volunteers Help Flood-hit Beijing Residents

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This month Tzu Chi volunteers in Beijing helped the residents of a suburb of the capital hit by the worst flooding in more than 60 years. They were interviewed by reporters of China’s Central Television (CCTV), who were covering the tragedy.

“Our priority is to care for those who have been affected by the flooding,” volunteer Zeng Yun-ji told a reporter from CCTV. “By coming, we hope that we can go into the affected areas and make the residents feel the warmth of society.”

Beijing has just experienced its worst flooding in 61 years. The volunteers went to Zhangfang township in the Fangshan district of the capital, to understand the situation and offer solace and comfort to its residents. At the same time, CCTV reporters were doing interviews in the district; when they found out that the volunteers were there, they recorded Tzu Chi volunteers' footprint of love.

It was on July 24 that a team of eight volunteers from Beijing went to Fangshan. They found that the Fangshan section of the expressway from the capital to Hong Kong had been under water; they saw the scars of the water on the road.

They went to the office of the Fangshan government, where they met Wang Wenhong, director of its Taiwan Affairs Office, and his colleague Duan Yongzhe. They had just returned from visiting districts in Hebei township that had been badly hit by the floods. Even though they had not taken their lunch, the two immediately briefed the volunteers.

Director Wang explained that Fangshan had experienced its worst floods in a century, with Hebei township receiving one year’s rain in just 13 hours; some people, sadly, had lost their lives. The city government, police and fire department acted rapidly and moved those affected to safe places; they provided them with food and daily necessities. Now the residents are well looked after and are receiving the help of local people who have made contributions to help them. The Taiwan Affairs Office of the city collected 1,000 towels for those affected. Separately, the Kang Shi Fu Group and the President Group each donated 500 boxes of water and instant noodles.

Volunteer Zeng explained to the government officials the relief work Tzu Chi did during the Wenchuan earthquake and its experience in caring for the survivors. Everyone who heard the presentation was very moved. Director Wang expressed his thanks to the foundation and hoped that it would provide material and spiritual help for the people of Fangshan, to console and encourage them. He decided to take the volunteers to Zhangfang township, one of the worst affected areas, to enable them to understand the situation there.

When they reached Zhangfang township, Ci Jianmin, the party secretary, expressed his thanks to the volunteers for coming. Zeng and her fellow volunteer Liao Ming-ren described the experience of Tzu Chi after the Morakot typhoon in Taiwan in 2009, which greatly moved the officials present.

Ci explained that Zhangfang township was built on an unstable foundation, with hills made of stone, trees and mud. As a result, the hills were not stable and the water flow was violent. On July 21, a total of 271 millimeters of rain fell, damaging 257 homes. The residents have been moved to temporary homes and tents, without food or water. In the two days that followed, they were able to restore electricity to some of the homes and re-use the wells. Roads in some areas had been cut; the army has used heavy equipment and given all the help they could. Party secretary Ci had used more than 10 years of enormous effort to build the infrastructure to supply water and electricity and provide an area of green space. But this had been washed away in the wink of an eye and would probably need a year and a half to restore fully. Since he was fully occupied in the rescue work, he invited deputy party secretary Dai Bing and Madame Wang Haihong, head of the organization department, to take the volunteers to Nanbaidai village, one of the worst affected areas.

When they entered the village, they saw for themselves the after-effect of the flooding. The water level had reached the roofs of many homes, while the roads next to the rivers had been washed away. The villagers were doing repairs on their own, cleaning their homes and their possession, drying their clothes and bedding.

The volunteers saw that the army had gone to help and were being of great service to the villagers. They were helping them clear the water out of their houses and bringing sodden items to the outside. The affected people could not prepare their own food, so the authorities were providing food, mainly instant noodles and noodles; also they were providing steamed buns and a small quantity of vegetables.
Of the three places of refuge, one was a former farm college.

Three of the temporary shelters are former bed-and breakfact in the village. For the others, the villagers chose to live in tents close to their homes. The government provided tents and simple bedding. During the day, they could go home to clean up; at night, they returned to their shelters to sleep.

The villager of Nanbaidai helped each other and the local leaders reacted immediately in going to the stricken areas. Although the flooding was very serious, there was no loss of life. Director Wang was very excited to describe the heroes of the village to everyone.

On the afternoon of July 21, the water level rose inexorably to chest level. Lu Zhiwen and his uncle Lu Shoudao climbed to the roof of their home and rescued eight of their neighbors. The last people they helped were Jiao Qiming and his family of three. Less than five minutes later, the house of Jiao could no longer resist the water and collapsed. Grandfather Jiao is 89 years old this year and his wife Fu Lianying is 84; their son Jiao Huaicun is handicapped. The other members of their family are working away from the village. In their home are only two elderly people and their handicapped son. Without the help of the Lu family, we cannot think of what would have happened.

Deputy party secretary Dai Bing accompanied the volunteers to two other villages, Wagou and Sanhezhuang. The residents of Wagou who live close to the river were affected and were drying their clothes and belongings next to the river. The road over the river had been washed away; the volunteers could go no further.

The volunteers returned to the county government and continued to discuss how they could help. They ran into the CCTV interview team. On camera, volunteer Zeng Yun-ji represented Tzu Chi members around the world in expressing concern and blessings for all those affected by the flooding. She said she hoped that, with the support of the government and the whole of society, they can resume their normal life as soon as possible.


 
【News】Tzu Chi in The World


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