Beijing (Agenzia Fides) - Half a million Yuan (equivalent to 62,600 euros) has been donated by the diocese of Shanghai, led by Bishop Joseph Shen Bin, to support the people of Hebei province affected by the recent floods. Aid was sent to affected populations through Jinde Charity, a Catholic charity based in Hebei province. After the 500 sets of sheets and blankets donated to the city of Gaobeidian on August 18, the diocese of Shanghai has continued to respond to the state of emergency by mainly sending materials and tools for housing recovery and reconstruction.
The suffering and difficulties caused by the floods – said Bishop Joseph Shen Bin, appointed by Pope Francis to lead the Diocese of Shanghai on August 14, touched the hearts of the faithful of the Diocese of Shanghai, who ask them to do donations and to offer more for the people in the affected areas, and to pray for a speedy end to the emergency caused by the natural disaster". Bishop Shen also called on everyone to protect and safeguard Creation as relentlessly recommended the bishop of Rome. Typhoon Dusu Rui caused severe flooding in Beijing, Tianjin and several areas of Hebei province between late July and early August, causing massive loss of life and damage to homes and infrastructure. The Chinese Catholic community, one of whose largest settlements is in Hebei province, has rushed to provide relief and emergency services. It rushed to provide relief and organize help, through Jinde Charity, a charity headed by Father John Baptist Zhang. In less than a month, several batches of relief materials worth a total of 1,200,560 yuan (150,500 euros) were sent to the disaster areas thanks to the donations collected. Charities and voluntary organizations distributed the aid in coordination with civil authorities, local United Front and Civil Protection Affairs. In particular, the Catholic community of Tangshan was able to collect 100,350 yuan (the equivalent of 12,600 euros) in a few days; the parish of Taihu in Wuxi, founded only 16 years ago and with about 2,000 baptized, donated 30,770 Yuan (about 3,900 euros) collected during the solemnity of the Assumption of Mary. Many Catholics volunteered to bring relief to populations affected by the natural disaster, as has already happened in other national emergencies. The Catholic communities in China respond spontaneously and quickly to the call of the bishops to help people facing emergencies and disasters that affect populations. As Chen Baolu, a Catholic with extensive experience in the field of humanitarian aid tells Fides, "the strength of a single person is limited, but the unity of all people can bring greater assistance to affected areas". Aid must be given to all, without distinction of faith, age or origin, in accordance with the teaching of the Church. Because those who urgently need help are always the "least of our brothers", and we Catholics will not stand idly by". (NZ) (Agenzia Fides, 21/8/2021)