United Methodists pledge donation for China quake relief

(Photo: Reuters / Jason Lee)A rescuer carries an injured survivor into a car near a landslide caused by Saturday's earthquake, on a road to Lingguan township, in Baoxing county in Ya'an, Sichuan province April 22, 2013.

A United Methodist Church leader visiting China has pledged the denomination's relief arm will provide relief assistance for last weekend's major earthquake in the southwestern Sichuan province.

"We would like to make an immediate donation of $10,000 as an expression of our solidarity," said the Rev. Thomas Kemper, top executive of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, the United Methodist News Service reported.

The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) will give the grant along with another $10,000 grant to the Amity Foundation, a local Christian group which partners with the U.S. denomination.

Rev. Kemper was part a delegation in Shanghai meeting with officials and staff of the country's official protestant church, the China Christian Council.

Saturday's quake had a magnitude of 7.0 at its epicenter in Ya'an city, Lushan County, a remote mountainous region of the Sichuan province. Over 1.5 million people have been affected. As of 6 a.m. on Tuesday, there were 193 dead, 25 missing and 12,211 injured, official news agency Xinhua said, citing government figures.

Over 19,000 soldiers and officers from China's military have been sent to the quake-hit area since Saturday.

China's State run news agency Xinhua reported that the country's air force began its first airdrops of food and water to homeless survivors.

Rescuers are continuing to attempt to pull survivors from quake hit areas, while congestion on roads near the area has contributed to relief supply shortages.

In 2008, an earthquake in Sichuan province left 87,000 dead or missing.

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