Before I post the update, I wanted to say that we have gotten many updates from wonderful people on the Chenzhou yahoo group. One of them informed us Operation Blessing China brought Chenzhou 426 bags formula milk powder, 14,000 diapers and two suitcases of medicine. They also ran basic health checkups on each child. The sick babies are doing better and the director assured HTS that they will all recover.
> Dear Friends,
> Tonight is Chinese New Year's Eve. Families across China who've not had
> to cancel their holiday plans are cozy together preparing huge feasts to
> greet the New Year. Although it gets harder and harder to reach anyone,
> we at HTS have not stopped reaching out to orphanages in central and south
> China that have suffered through the recent storms.
> Despite the difficulties -- anyone who possibly can has gone home, all
> shops and offices are closed, no one answers the phone, the whole country
> is suddenly quiet -- we had some success today in getting the word out.
> In all of the six hardest-hit provinces we've managed to begin spreading
> the word, town by town, that we (and you!) are here to help. We've begun
> getting calls from directors of some of the small county-level
> institutions. We expect their numbers to grow over the coming days.
> The weather remains bitter-cold but no serious snow is forecast now until
> the beginning of next week. For families in China, that's wonderful news,
> as relatives make their way from house to house with greetings and treats
> for the new year.
> For our little ones in the institutions, it's good news too. Thanks to
> you and the provisions and heaters and winter clothes you've made
> possible, most will have a snug and safe holidays.
> There has thankfully been only one instance so far where we felt the
> children were in real danger. In Chenzhou, Hunan, the subject of many
> recent news stories, the institution has been without power or running
> water for two weeks. In fact, a giant power grid was destroyed by heavy
> snows and the whole city has been dark for days. Yesterday in Chenzhou,
> 11 workers died in an attempt to restore power.
> We were worried about the children at the Chenzhou SWI - over 150 infants,
> some of whom were falling ill. Food supplies were running out and coal
> for heat was becoming prohibitively expensive. The SWI director was
> borrowing funds from caregivers to buy supplies at inflated prices. Even
> candles tripled in price. To complicate matters, because of the power
> failure, all banks were closed and the roads were closed. We were feeling
> pretty helpless.
> I'm happy to tell you that an intrepid little group, led by my husband,
> Richard, is now heading home from having successfully stabilized the
> situation at the Chenzhou SWI. There is now at least a week's worth of
> food, 2 weeks worth of coal, blankets, diapers (another group managed to
> drop off diapers and clothes as well and today a local farmer came by with
> a cart of cabbage) and plenty of money to buy what they need if they run
> out. Richard tells me that all they lack are 60 infant snowsuits and, as
> soon as the stores re-open after the holiday, the director knows where to
> get them. Although it's expected to take 3-6 months for Chenzhou to fully
> return to normal, we're so relieved that the children are safe and, at
> least for now, out of danger.
> I hope to be able to tell you more of the story soon. Meanwhile, we will
> continue to monitor the situation in Chenzhou daily.
> We will not stop reaching out to all potentially affected institutions,
> especially smaller ones, that we haven't heard from yet. We've made a
> commitment to the hugely over-burdened Civil Affairs offices, that we, as
> a community, are going to take care of the children through these critical
> days, with everything we've got to give.
> You are giving a great gift to the children in this New Year. You are
> also giving a great gift to me and my colleagues at Half the Sky. It is
> such a privilege to be empowered to help so many children in need. I feel
> very lucky right now!
> Please check our website for the latest update
> http://www.halfthesky.org/work/littlemouse.php To contribute to Half the
> Sky's Little Mouse Emergency Fund to meet these emergency needs and
> others, click here
> I'll send further information at least once each day as long as the
> situation merits.
>Please pass this on to anyone who might care.
Thank you.be safe. Xin Nian Kuai Le!