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Chinese Catholics support flood-affected communities

At least 62 people have died and millions have been hit by flooding and landslides in China since July

Rescue personnel evacuate residents from a flooded area following heavy rains in Zhuozhou, in northern China’s Hebei province on Aug 2, 2023

Rescue personnel evacuate residents from a flooded area following heavy rains in Zhuozhou, in northern China’s Hebei province on Aug 2, 2023. (Photo: AFP)

Published: August 22, 2023 08:15 AM GMT

Updated: August 22, 2023 08:45 AM GMT

Catholics in China have donated funds to support communities hit by recent devastating floods that left at least 62 dead and affected millions of people.

Shanghai diocese donated 500,000 yuan (US$69,035) to Hebei province, one of the worst-hit regions, Fides news agency reported on Aug. 21.

The donation was through Jinde Charities, a Catholic social service group based in Hebei province. The money is to be used for the recovery and reconstruction of houses of affected people.

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Some 500 sets of tarpaulin sheets and blankets were also sent by the diocese for flood-affected people in Hebei's Gaobeidian city on Aug. 18.

The Catholic donations came in response to an appeal by Bishop Joseph Shen Bin who called for the opening of hearts for people in dire need following the natural disasters.

Taking cues from Pope Francis’ environmental encyclical Laudato si', Bishop Shen also urged people to “protect and safeguard Creation” and to tackle the climate crisis that triggers extreme weather situations.

Jinde Charities chief, Father John Baptist Zhang said the agency has sent 1,200,560 yuan to disaster-hit areas thanks to donations collected from various sources.

Catholics from other areas have also raised funds for flood victims.

A Catholic community in Tangshan city, in Hebei, collected 100,350 yuan.

Catholics in Taihu parish in Wuxi, eastern Jiangsu province, collected 30,770 yuan on the solemnity of the Assumption of Mary on Aug. 15.

Many Catholics volunteered to offer aid to flood victims in various provinces.

“The strength of a single person is limited, but the unity of all people can bring greater assistance to affected areas,” Chen Baolu, a Catholic humanitarian worker told Fides.

Aid must be given to all, without distinction of faith, age or origin, in accordance with the teaching of the Church, Chen said.

Earlier, the Chinese government announced two flood relief packages for eight provinces affected by recent flooding.

On Aug. 2, China’s agricultural ministry said 432 million yuan will be allocated for flood relief and recovery for provinces where flooding and waterlogging due to heavy rainfall destroyed cropland, Reuters reported.

On Aug. 21, China’s finance and water resources announced another flood aid package of 500 million yuan for disaster-stricken areas.

Flooding is not uncommon in China, the communist-ruled nation has experienced more intense natural disasters in recent times.

In July, two of three cyclones, including Super Typhoon Doksuri, originating from the Pacific Ocean made landfall in the country, triggering unprecedented heavy rainfall inundating Beijing and surrounding provinces such as Hebei.

In one week, the Chinese capital Beijing recorded its highest rainfall in 140 years.

At least one million people in Hebei were affected by flooding, media reports say.

Among the dead, 33 were from Beijing and 29 from neighboring Hebei province.

The flooding in Hebei's Tangjiazhuang city triggered landslides, leaving at least 10 dead and 18 others missing at the end of July.


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