On 14th April 2010, an earthquake measuring around 7 on the Richter scale shattered the lives of people in Qinghai, a western province of China. Not only did it kill more than 2,000 people and injure 11,000, but there was an unusual complicating factor. The disaster happened at 4,000m altitude. People living this high in the mountains are hardy and resilient, but at a time like this, their rugged environment becomes their worst enemy.

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Rescue workers were desperate to rush to their aid, but the communities were located at such high altitude that many of the rescuers themselves suffered dizziness and altitude sickness. The remoteness of the epicentre also made it difficult for vehicles to bring the desperately needed food, medicines, blankets, clothing and tents.

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The earthquake survivors had been battling injuries and disease since the disaster. Crossroads made contact with a group working right in the centre of the affected area, and we were thankfully able to send a consignment of painkillers and many gallons of antiseptic liquid, carried in by our contacts in the field.


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Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

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China Snapshot

Population: 1.35 billion

Capital: Beijing

Population below international poverty line of US$1.25 per day: 11%, or 157 million people

China is experiencing rapid economic growth, but the benefits have not reached millions of people in rural areas. People who are already poor are the most vulnerable to death, injury and loss of livelihood when floods and earthquakes hit.

Natural disasters in China affect more than 200 million people every year.

China_S1359U_6

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80 year old Xiang and his wife woke, in the black of night, as rushing water poured into their village home, bringing down one of its aged walls. Heavy rains had seen a nearby river burst its banks and the elderly couple, in shock, only just escaped before its angry waters saw their house collapse. In minutes, they lost the possessions of decades.

Photo courtesy of CFPA.

Photo courtesy of CFPA.

Flooding is a tragic part of life in many parts of rural China and the poor, inevitably, are the hardest hit. Their smaller, less stable homes have less resilience to the ravaging flood waters, and they have little access to communication technology that could warn them of impending danger or equip them to seek help.

This year, once again, torrential rainfall is likely to cause widespread flooding in rural areas of China. And, once again, those already poor will pay the highest cost in the loss of homes, livelihoods, family members and their meagre possessions.

For some time now, Crossroads has been partnering with other organisations not only in disaster response, but also disaster preparation. The Hong Kong community has provided superb support as schools and community groups have helped us prepare consignments, providing, in particular, hygiene and other survival kits, together with much needed bedding and clothing.

Nature strikes with heartbreaking frequency in these areas, but, with emergency supplies in place beforehand, we have a greater chance of mitigating its tragic impact.

Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

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China Snapshot

Population: 1.35 billion

Capital: Beijing

Population below international poverty line of US$1.25 per day: 11%, or 157 million people

China is experiencing rapid economic growth, but the benefits have not reached millions of people in rural areas. People who are already poor are the most vulnerable to death, injury and loss of livelihood when floods and earthquakes hit.

Natural disasters in China affect more than 200 million people every year.

China_S1359U_6

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At least 5,500 people in the Philippines are now confirmed dead in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, with many more thousands of survivors left grieving and homeless.

PHP_typhoon_demaged_house

Crossroads’ first container has already arrived in the Philippines, carried free of charge by CNC Line, with three more containers loaded by 6th December, filled with goods to help reconstruction efforts in affected areas.

What’s needed now?

Now that the initial weeks following the disaster have passed, our partners have asked us for goods that will help people rebuild, such as hammers, nails and other hardware. Read on below for more information.

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HOW YOU CAN HELP

GIVE MONEY

To donate money towards Crossroads’ Typhoon Haiyan disaster relief efforts, please click here and specify ‘Disaster relief fund’ in the ‘What For?’ section.

Alternatively, you can make a direct deposit to:

Bank: HSBC

Account number: 083-6-028407

Account name: CROSSROADS FOUNDATION LTD

(NB – Please email accounts@crossroads.org.hk to notify us of your donation.)

 

GIVE GOODS

Goods requested

Our partners in the Philippines have advised us that construction materials and supplies such as hammers, nails, power tools, wood etc, would be most helpful for the rebuilding efforts now underway in their target areas. Email disaster.response@crossroads.org.hk with questions about other goods needed.

 

Disaster kits 

Crossroads is no longer calling for disaster kits for the Philippines. However we appreciate disaster kits at any time to replenish our supplies, ready to send as soon as another disaster strikes.

Please contact Crossroads in advance of your delivery on 2984 9309 so that someone is available to accept your donation.

How to deliver donations

Please deliver any donations directly to Crossroads after calling to inform our office on 2984 9309, with address details found here. Thank you for your generosity!

 

OTHER ENQUIRIES

Do you have other ideas about how your organisation or company can partner to help Typhoon Haiyan survivors? We’d love to hear from you.

Please email disaster.response@crossroads.org.hk (preferred) or call +852 2984 9309.

We will continue to release updates with any further developments or needs. Thank you for caring for those in need in the Philippines.

Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

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Philippines Snapshot

Population: 98,39 million
Capital: Manila

Population living below international poverty line of US$1.25 per day: 26.5%

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‘Super’ typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda devastated parts of the Philippines, leaving at least 5,500 dead and thousands more homeless.

PHP_typhoon

Local residents are putting their lives back together, and Crossroads has sent 4 shipments to help.

“The one beautiful thing amongst all the horrendous devastation is the Filippino community spirit,” said our partner in the Philippines. “There’s a lot of real ingenuity on the ground.” One villager, Noe, lost his own house in the storm but “before he even began to rebuild his home, he has been helping his neighbours repair their fishing boats, knowing that their children desperately need food.”

Before the typhoon struck, we already had a large stock of disaster kits prepositioned and waiting in our warehouse, thanks to ongoing efforts from volunteers and donors throughout the year. This meant we could respond immediately, shipping a container of kits and other emergency goods to our partners within a week of the typhoon.

 

PHP_typhoon_container

Students from West Island School helped load the container (above) and CNC Line generously carried it free of charge to the Philippines.

Containers of aid

Meanwhile, our phones were running hot and our email inbox bulged with offers of more and more disaster kits from schools, companies and families across Hong Kong who were desperate to help!

We began planning our second shipment, and when the deadline closed on 26th November, we counted up the donations: at least 2,630 kitchen and hygiene kits donated! We had enough kits and other goods to fill a further two 40′ containers, loaded on 30th November.

PHP_typhoon_contaimer_gifts

Each disaster kit contains kitchen or hygiene goods for a family group of six. This means that our amazing kit-collectors in Hong Kong have directly helped at least 15,780 people in need in the Philippines.

Volunteers from Standard Chartered helped to load the container, which included disaster kits, hardware for reconstruction, water purification tablets, mosquito nets, footwear and more.

Many from Hong Kong and around the world gave generous financial donations towards the shipments.

What next?

Now that the typhoon has passed, the world’s media may have pulled out of the Philippines, but Crossroads hasn’t.

PHP_typhoon_family

Typhoon Haiyan flattened entire villages. © European Commission DG ECHO

Our partners, who have run projects in the Philippines for decades, are committed to supporting the local people as they rebuild their homes and their lives. “These sorts of problems require long term solutions from organisations that are going to stay on the ground and partner with the people,” they said. We will continue to work with them to see how Crossroads can best help their projects.

They’ve told us that what they now need most is hardware and building supplies, to help people reconstruct their homes. Because of financial donations that flooded into our disaster fund, we have now been able to source these items and send them in our fourth shipment.

We continue to look for ways to respond to the ongoing rebuilding process.


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Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

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Somalia Snapshot Philippines Snapshot

Population: 98,39 million
Capital: Manila

Population living below international poverty line of US$1.25 per day: 26.5%

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The filthy waters swirled around their family home, as 10 year old Inamullah* stared in growing fear. They had now burst over the river bank and showed no signs of slowing down.

“Stay inside until the tide goes down”, his relatives had told him. But was the house safe? Already water was pouring into the ground floor and he ran to see if it was approaching the second. There was no doubt. Any moment now, they would need to move to the third floor and who knew how long even it would be safe?

The young boy needed wisdom beyond his own. While he could make a plan for himself and his older brother, a harder question was beyond his ability to solve. His mother, an old, diabetic woman, could not manage to climb those stairs in the face of the swirling waters. Inamullah sought help from his 12 year old brother who was not much bigger or stronger and, try as they might, proved too weak to carry their mother out.

For the two children, the risk of losing her was not only horrifying but hauntingly familiar. Only five years earlier, they had lost their father to the earthquake in Pakistan. Neither brother would forget the terrifying shudders of the earth that day, nor the sickening moment of realization that their dad would never come home again. Surely now they could not lose their mother as well?

Natural disasters are nondiscriminatory: they strike where they will and affect people regardless of social class or family life. In the end, the two could only gaze in abject horror as the relentless waters swept their mother away from their grasp and out of their lives. All that remained for them, in their shocked state, was to try to cheat death themselves.

Somewhere in the dark waters, Inamullah found a rubber tire and hung on to it with what little strength remained. It bobbed and ducked in the violent waters as he tried to avoid the floating debris they carried at terrifying speeds in their raging path. It was thirteen hours before rescue workers found him and took him to safety. There he was reunited with his brother and the two, now orphaned, later spoke of their battle.

“We can’t sleep at night” they said, in what we would probably call post trauma response. “We are still scared of the floods. And we are all alone now that our mother has gone. She was all we had.”

Inamullah’s mother was just one of the death toll following Pakistan’s devastating floods in 2010. The body count was close to 2,000, but that statistic hides the true human cost of the disaster. 20 million people in Pakistan were estimated to be affected. Even though most of these displaced people are now beginning to return home, each day after they returned held countless, perilous risks. There was a very serious lack of clean water, with many people forced to drink from dirty canals and other sources. There were reports of widespread cholera outbreaks, as well as dysentery and diarrhea. These illnesses can be fatal, especially for the 3.5 million children, many of whom were already malnourished due to a life of chronic poverty.

Schools were hit too. Children returned to find that, along with the rest of the buildings, their schools had been washed away. The UNHCR estimated that around 10,000 schools were destroyed by the flooding, as well as many that were rendered unusable because they were serving as temporary shelters for people who lost their homes.

After the disaster, Crossroads was immediately in consultation with people in Pakistan who were working with those affected. The kind of help they needed varied with each stage of the recovery process, but, for the load we initially sent, they asked us to gather hygiene kits, kitchen sets and school supplies. Many people in Hong Kong responded generously by donating funds and running collection drives to help the flood victims. The container was sent to Pakistan and the goods inside reached people rebuilding their lives in new homes and those living temporarily in camps and shelters.

*Name changed


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Crossroads Foundation Hong Kong

Give Now!

Donate to a shipment like this one.

DONATE MONEY

Donate Goods!

Want to donate goods for a shipment like this one?

DONATE GOODS

HELPING LIGHT THE DARKNESS

The BBC calls if ‘the worst refugee camp on earth’. A camp on the far-flung island of Lesvos, Greece, seen by...

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