Beginning again in earthquake-devastated village

Operation Blessing visits the work site at Yao Jin to check on the construction of the bath house.

YAO JIN VILLAGE, China – Today’s site visit was excellent. The villagers were warm and exceptionally motivated. By tomorrow they will have finished the construction of the ‘bath house.’

When we arrived at the village, there was a small back hoe working to dig out rubble, brought in by the government to help. This evening there was also a troop of military men setting up tents and helping with odd jobs in the village.

There was a troop of military men in Yao Jin setting up tents and helping with odd jobs in the village.

With the completion of the bath house nearing fast, we can now look for new locations to replicate the fantastic work we have done in Yao Jin. We will continue to liaison with the villagers there and search for ways to improve their lives, while also looking for new villages who share the same urgent needs of water and hygiene facilities.

This afternoon I set off to look at two villages where we have already distributed relief goods and see if they needed similar assistance. One of the villages was covered but the other, Yang Yim, was in need of water and latrines. The village is much more remote than Yao Jin and required a 30 minute drive up into the mountains. It is a village of 700 people, 19 of whom died in the quake.

The remote community of Yang Yim has already begun to construct temporary housing for the residents.

We spoke with the villagers and they seem similarly motivated – having already begun to construct temporary housing for themselves. We will be returning tomorrow to discuss the possibility of moving forward with them. Their water solution might not be as simple as it was in Yao Jin. They currently have a large cistern that was fed by a spring, but since the quake, the spring has stopped producing water.

They did say that the government offered a solution, probably by pumping water from a source just over a mile away, but they have no idea when that might happen. In the meantime, they are running very low on the water supply in the cistern. Like the villagers of Yao Jin, they don’t want to have to relocate.

Yang Yim village is just 12 miles south of the epicenter in Beichuan. Tomorrow we will visit two more locations that might need similar assistance.

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