This morning, some foreign and national staff loaded vehicles with water, food and other necessities and headed north to Mianzhu. Mianzhu is the hometown of a few of our national staff, and suffered quite a bit of damage, especially in the outlying areas.
As we drove, we saw very little damage until we arrived in Mianzhu. Then we began to see collapsed roofs, walls and damaged power lines. The countryside was almost surreal, with people living in makeshift tents in the middle of their leveled homes. More than once, we had people flag us down from the side of the road and ask for whatever we could give them. Most were looking for tarps or face masks, but seemed to have plenty of water.
We only saw one major rock slide, and otherwise, the farms were intact, and people were moving along as usual, harvesting rapeseed and wheat. In fact, the government sent a text message asking people not to burn their fields in order to allow rescue pilots better visibility!
There were two events that especially struck me today:
We stopped along the road where a small group of people were gathered. One man among them had very little control over one arm and seemed to have some mental issues as well. When he was handed a cup of instant noodles, his face lit up like I’ve never seen before. The group was told that we would be pr*ying for them, and they responded excitedly, saying they were part of the Family!!
Secondly, we stopped at a distribution center and were directed to a village a few kilometers away that had received very little attention. We loaded things from the large buses to the smaller vehicles and made our way up the hill. When we arrived, people cheered, and told us that this was the first delivery made to their village. They helped unload the vans, and rather than run off with the things, they stacked it neatly for later distribution and talked and talked with us. One lady was sobbing – overwhelmed by the fact that no harm had come to her family and now this sign that their lives could be rebuilt.
Pictures to come later, but I’m off to bed…