“We are ‘doing gospel’, not only ‘spreading gospel’. Through our witness indeed, more people can receive the bread of life from the Lord through food assistance,” said by the representative of the Church on The Rock Yan Shing Church
[ePrayer – Pray for the World]
Efforts to improve the distribution of international food aid amounted to roughly US$2 billion each year by the US Government achieved some successes in the recently enacted Agriculture Act of 2014 – commonly referred to as the Farm Bill – but the food aid mechanism used by the world’s largest donor continues to be driven by the needs of US commercial interests.
The positives are: a pilot project taken in the 2008 Farm Bill aiming to test the feasibility of local and regional procurement of food aid during emergencies has been transformed into a regularised programme that results in $80 million of local and regional procurement (LRP) each year. The new Farm Bill also increases the percentage of funding that can be spent on non-emergency components in the largest food aid programme, Food for Peace, from 13 to 20 percent, so more funds can be spent with cash-based resources or commodities rather than through the much-criticized vehicle of monetised food aid.
These are important developments. But the Farm Bill still fell well short of providing USAID with flexibility to use cash, vouchers or LRP where those would be the most appropriate food assistance tools. The main US food aid programme still remains legislatively restrictive in demanding that commodities be bought in the US and shipped from the US (at least half of the cargo must be on US flag vessels). This causes needless waste and delay without generating much benefit to the US economy.
The modest reforms of the Farm Bill are hopeful intimations of things to come. NGOs trust that this is actually the beginning of a reform conversation.
Meditation on Scriptures:
‘When you are harvesting in your field and you overlook a sheaf, do not go back to get it. Leave it for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow, so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. When you beat the olives from your trees, do not go over the branches a second time. Leave what remains for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow. When you harvest the grapes in your vineyard, do not go over the vines again. Leave what remains for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow. Remember that you were slaves in Egypt. That is why I command you to do this.’ Deuteronomy 24: 19-22
Deuteronomy 24 teaches us to leave what remains for the poor. May we follow the teaching of Deuteronomy, to donate, share and care individually or as group for the need of the poor alone.
Pray for the world:
- May the donor nations and NGOs put the need of the poor and disaster victims as the top priority in allocating the aid resources;
- Pray that all governments and international aid agencies will continue to collaborate closely together to improve the existing relief and aid operation so more effective and appropriate assistance can be provided to the impoverished and suffered communities.
Over a month after the quake happened in Yiliang, Yunnan in early September, where 700 thousand people were affected, many quake victims are still staying under rough shelters and even some of them have yet to receive any relief assistance. CEDAR has received the grant of 2.4 million from the HKSAR’s Disaster Relief Fund to support the quake affected victims. On 25 October, CEDAR team and Yunnan Christian Council sent a relief team to Yiliang, Zhaotong region to deliver the one-month food aid to 6,000 quake affected households in 15 villages.
CEDAR staff Alice, who has been helping facilitate the quake relief work, said, ‘Lots of houses have collapsed after the quake and the villagers are still staying under rough shelters. The blankets they received from emergency relief are soaked with rainwater. The victims are now facing the challenge of cold weather.’
In the first week of the relief operation, staff and volunteers finished 40% of the food aid distribution. This is the first time volunteers from Yiliang Church take part in relief operation. However, after the briefing and practice on the first day, they have been familiarised with the operation. In the third day, our relief team was even able to deliver food packages to 300 more households within less than three hours work. Praise the Lord!
Local staff and volunteers are now delivering the rest of the relief materials to other quake affected villages. The relief operation will be finished in early November. We are glad to see that not only have the needs of the quake victims have been matched, but also the capability of the Yiliang Church in responding to disaster has also been built up.
‘The residents in Yiliang are poor’ Fountain, a programme officer from CEDAR who has taken part in the quake relief work, shared, ‘many elderly villagers were moved to tears as they hold the food aid in their hands.’ Most of the people there are lived by farming. However, in recent years, the livelihood of villagers has become more and more difficult by the climate change. ‘They are used to growing grape, tangerine and Sichuan pepper. However, the fruits in recent years have rotten before they have time to ripen.’ Landslides caused by the quake and the loosen soil caused by rainwater have worsened the condition of the damaged houses, making them more susceptible to collapse. The only school in the village has been closed till next April.
‘Last Sunday, we passed through the most affected region. Seeing with my own eyes the quake-shattered cement plant, the boulders and remnant of landslides left on the road and the scene after serious landslides, I can’t imagine how horrible it must have been when the quake hit.’ said Alice. ‘It has happened over a month since the Yiliang quake, but there are still some victims staying in tents far away from the road with very little assistance. If we were in their shoes, I am sure we would agree that they definitely need our continual care and support.’
Fountain said, ‘Most of the Miao people there belong to the Hua Miao group. Christianity has had deep impact on their culture and way of life 100 years ago. I really hope that through the participation of local churches, China’s government could have more concern on the special need of Miao minority in the after quake rehabilitation.’
Pray for the quake relief and rehabilitation in Yiliang, Yunnan:
- Pray that the quake victims will have sufficient relief materials for facing the challenge of cold weather;
- Pray that local government will confirm the plan of rehabilitation shortly and the resettlement of quake victims will be efficiently implemented and finished;
- Pray that God will give strength to the staff and volunteers from the Yunnan churches to finished the rest of the food aid delivery;
- Please remember the next phase of rehabilitation work. Pray that we can collect more donations to support the long-term post-disaster recovery and development in Yiliang, Yunnan.
Act now to support the quake-affected people through financial assistance:
- By cheque: Please make cheque payable to ‘CEDAR FUND’ and mark ‘Yunnan Earthquake Relief’ on your cheque, and then have it sent to G.P.O. Box 3212 Hong Kong.
- By ATM: Please make deposit directly into our bank account for emergency relief (HSBC 600-385678-003). Please mark ‘Yunnan Earthquake Relief’ on your pay-in-slip, and then have it sent to G.P.O. Box 3212Hong Kong.
- Online Payment: You can also transfer your donations to our HSBC account for emergency relief through online banking services. For online banking transfers, please send the online transfer confirmation to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject ‘Yunnan Earthquake Relief’.
- Download donation form
Please contact our staff Alice Kwan and Jojo Poon at 2381 9627.