A major earthquake registering 7.8 on the Richter scale hit China’s southwest province Sichuan at 2:28PM on May 12th. It was the most disastrous earthquake in China in the past 32 years. Significant damage has been reported in rural areas surrounding the epicenter, and current loss of life is estimated to be upwards of 12,000 people. More than 60,000 people are still inaccessible. People in the rest of the country including Shanghai and Beijing all felt huge tremors at the first wave of earthquake.
Through a partnership with the Asia Foundation and Ministry of Civil Affairs (MOCA) to increase private sector involvement in disaster preparedness in China and a recent meeting between the Asia Foundation representative and MOCA officials on Tuesday May 13th, AmCham Shanghai and its Corporate Social Responsible Committee would like to convey following information:
The localities most severely affected by the earthquake are in the area around Wenchuan, Sichuan province. Shannxi, Gansu, Yunnan and Chongqing are also affected. Wenchuan is still inaccessible by road and telecommunications remain limited, so the full extent of damages there has yet to be assessed. Many local schools are badly affected and hundreds of students are trapped under the rubble. Due to torrential rain, planes and helicopters are also unable to land in the area. At present, cash donations represent the best way to get help where it is needed most as relief supplies must be procured locally and cannot be shipped in due to transportation disruptions.
The three most viable avenues for making cash donations are:
- Directly to the provincial level disaster relief organizations. This is the most direct and efficient way to make a contribution.
- Through designated charitable organizations such as the China Charity Federation, the Chinese Red Cross and etc.
- Through the Ministry of Civil Affairs. However, it should be noted that funds donated this way could take nearly two months to reach their ultimate targets, according to MOCA.
Relief supplies such as blankets, warm jackets, and tents, are needed and can be best purchased by these organizations locally.
We have posted contact details for various charities which are working on disaster relief. If members would like to make in-kind contribution in lieu of cash donations, please contact MOCA. They will store the items until transportation lines have been restored. In Shanghai, Shanghai Charity Foundation also accepts clothing, food and tents. They will arrange the transportation for you accordingly. You can find the details here.
Beside financial and in-kind donation to government recognized NGOs, AmCham Shanghai CSR committee would like you to consider taking following relevant actions:
- Provide practical assistance to local communities in which the company operates.
- To activate crisis management plans and make company resources and facilities available to local communities in need.
- Besides providing financial support, in-kind and/or services can also serve as relief efforts. Suggested equipment and services including, water treatment, telecommunication equipment, instant noodles, medicine, tent, rescue tools, reconstruction materials, hotline service, and psychology assistance towards disaster.
- Start developing programs addressing and supporting long term needs, such as infrastructural programs related to schools, hospitals, homes, etc., as well as other health and social issues that will obviously follow.
MOCA is offering to publicize the donations made by AmCham member companies, should that be of interest. Each day MOCA compiles a press release, including a list of contributions, and issues it to Xinhua and CCTV. To be able to track AmCham member donations, please send an email to Oliver Yang (oliver.yang@amcham-Shanghai.org) indicating your company name and donation. We will provide this information to MOCA for further dissemination. Please also share you relief efforts with us by sending us your story and pictures at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Anna Bartram at 021-62797119 ext. 5661.
The American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai