Social organizations, private sector rush to help flooded Henan

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Henan, a large province in central China, has been battered by heavy rains since July 17, causing flooding in the capital city, Zhengzhou, and surrounding areas.

As of July 23, at least 51 people had died due to the disaster, with the number set to climb further.

According to images and videos posted on social media, the height of the water reached people’s chests in some areas, trapping many in subway trains and cars as a result of the water pressure and lack of oxygen. And there has been a significant amount of economic damage, along with disruption to trains and flights.

With many areas still flooded, Alibaba and Tencent have donated 100 million yuan ($15.4 million) each toward rescue efforts and emergency supplies. HEYTEA, a chain of tea stores popular with young people, has supplied 5 million yuan to fund the relocation of people made temporarily homeless by the disaster.

Social organizations have also been offering a substantial amount of assistance, benefitting from the natural advantage of being able to efficiently mobilize resources, provide counseling, care for people who are vulnerable and in need, and guide local businesses on how best to resume work.

The One Foundation’s Shandong emergency relief team arrived in Zhengzhou on July 21 to assist frontline rescue and relief efforts. The 49 rescue personnel came equipped with 14 rescue vehicles, 13 boats, 11 water rescue and relief packages, and two power generators. The organization’s Xi’an and Changsha branches also played important roles. Warehouses in both cities prepared supplies, including 1,000 relief insulation boxes, 1,000 hygiene packs, and 2,000 sleeping bags, with the supplies ready to be sent to Henan once transportation resumes. The foundation has also initiated fundraising campaigns on multiple domestic platforms.

The China Red Cross Foundation initiated the Angel Tour 2021 – Henan Flood Rescue, and a working team from the foundation was sent to the province to collect information to better meet the needs of local people. The organization first supplied the affected areas with 5,000 relief boxes for families complete with essentials such as food, raincoats, daily necessities, and other urgently-needed items. The foundation next plans to assist with post-disaster reconstruction and disease prevention work.

For young people caught up in the floods, according to a director from the China Youth Development Foundation, the organization will focus on the following three major work agendas: financially supporting young people from families suffering economic hardship, comprehensively supporting the reconstruction of elementary and middle schools in the affected areas to ensure the resumption of classes, and supporting youth volunteer groups to launch their own services in Henan. The foundation has allocated 1.5 million yuan to its local Henan branch to assist children and their families, with funds collected through online channels.