China: Overseas partners visit the earthquake region

Staffers from the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Mission (FELM) and the Church of Sweden joined Amity Foundation staffers on a trip to Mianzhu City in Sichuan's earthquake region. The purpose of the trip was to inspect the work Amity has recently started for the rehabilitation of people who have been disabled since the 12 May quake, the Amity-sponsored rebuilding activities and the Community Service Centre opened by Amity in Woyun Village.

In September, Amity - in cooperation with Nanjing Ruihaibo Rehabilitation Hospital - had sent 6 medical volunteers to the People's Hospital in Mianzhu, where they are currently providing rehabilitation services to patients and training grassroots rehabilitation workers. According to the director of the People's Hospital, 6,000 people were injured in Mianzhu during the earthquake. Between 3,000 and 4,000 of these people haven been in need of rehabilitation.

The hospital, however, can provide the necessary treatment to no more than 300 patients at any given time, while all the others can only be treated at home. The hospital has introduced a rotational scheme in order to make sure that all patients can come to the hospital at some point to receive treatment. No special rehabilitation facilities were in place at the hospital before the earthquake, nor were there any specialized instructors. Little more could be done for people who had lost limbs during the earthquake than giving them injections and ordinary painkillers.

The hospital has therefore expressed its great gratitude to the Amity Foundation for its timely support. At the same time it is hoping for additional trained rehabilitation experts who could work at Mianzhu for a longer period of time, so an even greater number of people injured in the earthquake could receive adequate treatment. The hospital has reported the demand in Mianzhu for this kind of support to the Department of Health of Jiangsu Province, which has already sent one specially qualified doctor; more are expected to follow.

Amity has also provided the kindergarten of Jiulong with beach balls, trampolines and other toys. It has given cabinets and bookshelves to schools in Guangji Township. Representatives of FELM and the Church of Sweden said at the end of the visit that they were impressed with the post-disaster relief, reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts.