It has been more than half a year since Mount Sugarloaf collapsed in Regent, Sierra Leone, killing at least one thousand people and leaving thousands homeless and in tears. The world mourned with Sierra Leone as the people of that nation suffered yet another calamity after experiencing war, Ebola, and ongoing poverty. Like many other humanitarian organizations, the Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation with its partners, Healey International Relief Foundation, Caritas Freetown and Lanyi Foundation responded with needed emergency relief, including food support, blankets and psychosocial support.
In 2015, Typhoon Soudelor destroyed Heliu Tribal Village in Taoyuan, Taiwan, which displaced 48 residents. To help these typhoon survivors, Taoyuan City Government and Taiwan Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation worked together to build permanent housing. An opening ceremony was recently held to celebrate the completion of this work. In total, 15 households have received help and finally have a home to live in. After waiting for more than 700 days, the residents of Heliu Tribal Village finally have new houses to live in.
Tzu chi volunteers in Europe have continued to care for the refugees at the Obrenovac Refugee Camp in Serbia. Seeing that most of them had worn out their shoes, volunteers recently purchased more than 1,300 pairs of slippers and distributed some 700 pairs to the refugees at this camp.
For average people, these pairs of shoes, which are worn out, should have been discarded. But for the refugees who are stranded in Serbia, these shoes are the only things that can protect their feet.
Ben Tre Province in Vietnam suffered a severe drought the whole year, leading the residents of two communities to lack access to clean water. Since July of this year, volunteers of Taiwan Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation have begun to distribute 500 horizontal water towers to help them.
Tzu Chi volunteers once again came to An Hiep area of Ben Tre Province after their first water tower distribution here in mid-July. The 117 water towers that are placed on the sports ground of this junior high school are the gifts to local residents from Tzu Chi.
In order to improve medical quality for the poor In Colombo, Sri Lanka, TIMA members from Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, and the Philippines worked together to hold a three-day free clinic. At the free clinic, services from five medical departments were offered. The medical volunteers estimate that they've provided medical services to over 3000 local residents.
Tzu Chi volunteers overcame challenges to turn a classroom into a sterile operating room. Thanks to their efforts, many small surgeries were successfully carried out, alleviating the pain and suffering of the patients.