NANCHANG, China–– Catholic parishes in southern China continued helping victims of devastating floods caused by torrential downpours that have occurred daily since mid-June.
“Local Catholics are mobilized, raising funds and taking boats with food items to victims who are still stranded,” Father Philip Cao Xiaoxian of the Linchuan Church in Fuzhou, Jiangxi province, told the Asian church news agency UCA News.
Catholics in Guangxi also are raising money and preparing to distribute aid and relief.
“The church will help whoever is in need, as love is without borders,” said a local spokesman.
In rain-battered Fuzhou, as the flood waters recede and breached barriers are repaired, affected families are worrying about their livelihoods and their futures.
“Some of the 1,000 affected Catholics have said they don’t even have a cup, a bowl or a bed now,” Father Cao said. People forced from their homes have moved in with relatives or relocated to government shelters.
Church leaders are now discussing how they can contribute to long-term rebuilding in conjunction with Catholic Jinde Charities, which is affiliated with the Caritas Internationalis, the Vatican-based umbrella organization for Catholic charities.
Jinde Charities officials said the organization has been contacted by church partners in Chongqing, Guangxi and Jiangxi since June 28. The Guangxi Catholic Loving Heart Foundation has sent photos, damage reports and other information from the disaster areas to the organization for assessment.
Jinde Charities will try its best “to be the bridge between the victims and the donors,” said Hu Limin, an official with the organization.
Since the heavier-than-normal rains began, nearly 400 people have died and 4.4 million people have been evacuated in a region that is accustomed to summer flooding, the Office of State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters reported on its website.
The Chinese government said damage has topped $11 billion.