Local churches in Shanxi have been participating in the flood relief work caused by the recent heavy rainfall.
The Hejin section of Fenhe River in Hejin city, southwestern Shanxi Province has faced the largest flood in 57 years due to continuous rainfall, Xinhua News Agency reported on October 9. The water flow in the Fenhe, a major tributary of the Yellow River, reached 900 cubic meters per second, more than 20 times the usual rate, according to China Daily. Because of a breach in the Hejin section, local forces were focusing on rescue efforts.
As of October 14, the floods had disrupted the lives of 1.76 million residents from 76 counties, with more than 120,000 people evacuated and 238,460 hectares of crops damaged. More than 19,500 houses collapsed, according to the provincial department of emergency management.
Many rural churches in Shanxi Province were damaged by continuous heavy rainfall which caused floods and other disasters.
On October 12, Gospel Times, an online Chinese Christian newspaper, contacted a female co-worker of a church in Hejin City. The female believer with the surname of Yuan said that due to the breach, the river flooded tens of thousands of acres of farmland. A few Christians were relocated and some believers’ crops were also destroyed. Entering a state of emergency last Sunday, church members constructed high flood control dams around the church gate, offering prayers for the safety of the church.
"Sewer overflows occurred at the entrance of the church, but serious damage was averted." Yuan said that the old church had been flooded up to the window sills. "The danger is more serious than before and we have worked hard to fight the flood. Control measures have succeeded and God has answered our prayers."
Yuan, the person in charge of a local church’s nursing home, added that they had prepared for the relocation of the home, but that the threat then receded. “The water level has dropped now.”
She said that many manpower and material resources had been invested in disaster reduction and Hejin churches also participated in local flood-fighting efforts. For example, the Hejin Municipal CC&TSPM donated four water pumps and four tents to the civil affairs bureau for local flood-fighting and drainage. Churches also organized believers to send food, water, gloves, and rain ponchos to volunteers.
While it rained, Lianchi Church in Hejin City sent 300 ponchos and 240 pairs of gloves to the volunteers on the river dam, which was very appreciated. Members of a choir and believers from Wujiaguan Village delivered meals to volunteers in Chengguan Village. In addition, believers of Wujiaguan Village, Fanjiapo Village and Mijiawan Village sent rice and cakes to villagers guarding the dams.
Yuan also sent photos of believer from Zhanqian Road Church, who delivered meals to relief workers. In addition, 20 helmet lights, 100 raincoats, 40 pairs of boots, and a bag of gloves were sent to flood workers in Yangcun Township. In the past few days, food was also distributed at the disaster relief site on Yongxing Road. “Many believers sent cakes and rice soup here”.
A local male Christian individually distributed love materials worth more than 10,000 yuan this Monday, she said.
- Translated by Abigail Wu