Friday, February 1, 2008

Half the Sky needs immediate help! (Snow/ice disaster in China)

OK, usually you will see me writing about public policy and poverty, but there is a crisis going on right now that is very close to my heart, so I will put out an appeal. Extreme weather conditions in China have affected millions of people as travel, phone and power have been interrupted during a time of heavy snow and ice. As usual, the poorest segment of the population is suffering the most as food and supplies are causing lack of food, drinking water, fuel, etc. And as usual, orphaned children are among the most vulnerable people. The facilities of Half the Sky (the amazing organization that cares for thousands of China's orphaned children) are in danger.

Please consider going to

to donate to the "Little Mouse Emergency Fund" set up to assist with this terrible disaster. Here now are
some words from Jenny Bowen, executive director of Half the Sky:

"Welfare institutions in south and central China are having the hardest time dealing with the weather disaster. This part of the country is simply not equipped to deal with extreme cold or heavy snow and ice. The most common critical problems are power outages, lack of safe drinking and cooking water, lack of fuel, diapers and public transportation. In many places where buses have stopped running, our Half the Sky nannies have been walking hours (in one case, 4 hours) along icy roads to get to the children. As conditions worsen, our nannies and teachers are remaining at the institutions day and night. They have given up the idea of going home to their own families for the holidays. They need quilts. They need warm clothing. They need coal, water, disposable diapers and food.

Latest reports tell us that this weather is likely to continue for another 10 days.

Because local governments are overwhelmed by the situation, it seems that there is, in many places, no relief beyond what we can provide. We have not been able to find news of any international relief organizations working on the ground although the China Red Cross is apparently providingsome meals to stranded motorists.

As it is impossible to get new supplies of goods to the markets, costs of basic necessities are doubling, even tripling in some cases. We are now working with the Ministry of Civil Affairs (which has the responsibility of dealing with natural disasters nation-wide) to determine which institutions outside the HTS community need our help as well. We will continue funding the costs of basic goods until the money runs out.

We can’t ship the necessary diapers, blankets, clothing, food ourselves. There is no transport that can get through right now. We will continue working to find a way. In the meantime, we are wiring funds where banks remain open. Where banks are closed, we are guaranteeing reimbursement to any citizen who funds thepurchase of needed goods for the children.

We’ve now placed a special “Little Mouse” button on our home page which will take you right to the
fund page or you can get there by clicking
Donations are tax-deductible in US, Canada and Hong Kong."

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