CWS emergency appeal: China 2007 earthquake response

Appeal Number 6533

Appeal Amount: $75,000


A June 4 earthquake measuring 6.4 on the Richter Scale hit Ning'er County in the southern part of China's Yunan province, killing three persons and injuring 346 people. Though the number of casualties is low, the damage caused by this quake -- the most serious for the region in nearly 30 years -- is considerable. More than 90,000 homes collapsed and more than 270,000 were damaged. Some 180,000 persons have had to be evacuated from their homes; in all more than 1 million persons have been affected by the disaster.

More than 1,000 aftershocks have been reported, causing widespread damage. A total of five counties and 51 townships have been affected.

Ning'er County covers an area of 3,670 square kilometers, and has a total population of 184,000, among whom 150,000 are farmers. Ethnic minorities account for nearly half of the total population, and the county is predominately rural, with crops that include rice, tea, tobacco and coffee. The county is considered one of the poorest economically in China.

Ning'er County is located in one of China's earthquake belts; there have been nine major earthquakes, of at least 5.0 on the Richter Scale, since 1970, six of which measured 6.0 to 6.8 on the Richter Scale.


Church World Service is responding through its long-time partner in China, the Amity Foundation.

In an assessment of the situation, Amity noted that material assistance -- such as tents, clothing, blankets, medicines and food items -- has been quick to get to the affected area due to a coordinated response by government authorities working with relief groups. However, the situation remains serous for the quake survivors: Amity notes there are still ample needs, including a need for additional tents. (Most of the farming families live in houses constructed of wood and mud, so a majority of the houses have collapsed; given the large numbers that have had to be evacuated, there have not been enough tents for each family. Between large families and sharing tents with neighbors, up to 10 persons may have to share one tent, Amity reports.)

Another problem is that of reconstruction and farming production rehabilitation. At least 43 percent of losses are believed to be from homes destroyed or damaged but another loss is due to the destruction of farming irrigation systems, schools and hospitals.

Tan Hua, an Amity staff member who has been part of assessment efforts, said disaster survivors have said the situation is intensified because survivors' food and seeds for upcoming planting are still in collapsed or damaged homes. 'As it is the rainy season now, if they (survivors) cannot solve the problem in time, all of their living resources will be destroyed, and they will have no food to eat,' nor seeds to continue their agricultural production, Tan Hua said. As a result, the effects of the disaster could extend for some time.

Given these dynamics, Amity has chosen to focus its response to assisting families whose houses are collapsed or severely damaged and have had to evacuate to other locales; families who have lost at least two thirds of their crops; families or those who are poor or handicapped, or have other serious vulnerabilities.


The goal of the CWS-supported response in China is to alleviate the suffering and help meet the basic needs of 2,000 people. The most vulnerable families are now homeless as a result of the quake and have not received any help from government authorities or other agencies.

Specific objectives include providing 15 kilos of rice per person to 2,000 individuals, or about 600 families; provide one quilt per family to 2,000 families; provide one sheet of plastic sheeting (40 square meter for each one) to be used as a temporary tent per family to 1,000 families; help rebuild 100 houses; help rebuild three sets of irrigation systems; help rebuild two village schools.

Rice will be purchased locally; the plastic sheeting can be used to cover crops during the rainy season following reconstruction of homes; the new houses will follow a standard design and will be built to withstand other earthquakes and will be built of brick and wood, or a brick and cement framework; each house will have a floor space of at least 60 square meters. Reconstruction will be funded by Amity and local authorities, and beneficiaries themselves will also contribute part of the costs or labor for the house rebuilding.

Schools will be constructed with a floor space of about 500 square meters and with a steel and cement framework, with Amity, local authorities and communities contributing to costs and labor. Similar sharing of costs and labor will also be the norm for the rebuilding of the irrigation systems.

Total budget and amount Amity is seeking from CWS and other partners within the Action by Churches Together (ACT) International network is $211,605, and includes $47,368 for direct emergency assistance, including rice, blankets and plastic sheeting; and $144,736.84 for rehabilitation efforts.

Contributions to support this emergency appeal may be sent to your denomination or to Church World Service, P.O. Box 968, Elkhart, IN, 46515.

Please designate: Appeal #6533: China 2007 Earthquake Response

For further information about disasters to which Church World Service is responding -- or to make a credit card contribution -- please visit the Church World Service Website at or phone (800) 297-1516.

CWS Emergency Response Program special contacts: (212) 870-3151;
Executive Director: Donna Derr,
International Associate: Fidele Lumeya,
Domestic Associate: Linda Reed Brown,

CWS / ERP web site: