SHANGHAI, CHINA -- Within hours of a 7.9 magnitude earthquake that crumbled buildings and killed thousands of people in the Sichuan Province of western China on Monday, international Christian relief organization Samaritan's Purse responded to the crisis.
According to a news release, Franklin Graham, president and CEO of Samaritan's Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, is currently on a 10-day visit to China where he is meeting with government and church leaders in Beijing, Hangzhou, Nanjing and Shanghai.
When he learned about the devastating earthquake, Graham committed $150,000 to assist with the immediate disaster response. The relief organization is continuing to look for additional ways it can contribute to earthquake relief efforts.
According to the news release, Graham met with Elder Fu Xian-Wei, chairman of the Three Self Patriotic Movement, and Rev. Gao Feng, president of the China Christian Council, at the organizations’ national headquarters in Shanghai.
“This donation is very important to the people of China because it shows the love of God for all people,” said Gao in the news release. “This will encourage more Chinese people to do the same, and to reach out to their neighbors in need. Franklin Graham's visit is bringing us much more understanding and encouragement for each other.”
Graham said in the news release, “On behalf of my father, Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, we want the people of China to know that we are praying for each person impacted by this disaster. Recovery efforts are underway, but you can never recover the loss of a life. We want to do anything we can to assist with this crisis, so we are committing these funds for initial support of the local church as they assist with the relief efforts.”
Graham said he has been impressed with how the Chinese government has responded to the earthquake. He said that he is meeting daily with officials in China to assess the need and offer assistance.
Graham added, “I would ask all Christians in the United States to pray for the people of China and the church here, as they reach out to their fellow citizens with God’s love and compassion.”
According to the news release, China’s earthquake is just one of several major natural disasters Samaritan’s Purse is responding to around the world.
The organization has also been helping in Myanmar, where the United Nations estimates that more than a million people who survived Cyclone Nargis are now in life threatening danger because of hunger and disease.
According to the news release, Samaritan’s Purse currently has an airlift scheduled to transport about 20 tons of relief supplies from Bangkok, Thailand to Yangon, Myanmar. This is the first of a number of planned upcoming flights. The relief supplies include water purification systems, plastic for temporary shelter, blankets, clothing and mosquito netting.
In the United States, after a series of deadly tornadoes raked across several states over the weekend, Samaritan’s Purse has deployed its Disaster Relief Unit to help with recovery efforts.
According to the news relief, Samaritan’s Purse is focusing its initial response on Georgia, where at least half a dozen tornados damaged an estimated 6,000 homes. The Samaritan’s Purse tornado relief convoy includes tractor trailers filled with plastic sheeting, construction equipment and building materials which will be used to help make emergency repairs to homes and remove storm debris.
To learn more, go to www.samaritanspurse.org.
© 2008 ASSIST News Service, used with permission