Torrential downpours around China’s Yangtze River basin, which began in late June, have claimed the lives of at least 186 people. An estimated 33 million people are affected and more than 100 rivers throughout the country are on flood alert.
The severe floods have caused widespread damage to crops, livestock and homes, with an estimated cost of $7.7 billion. There are fears that an incoming typhoon, set to make landfall on Friday 8 July, will further deteriorate the situation.
While flooding in southern China is common during the monsoon season, the heavy rainfall this year has been attributed to a strong El Nino effect.
In a pastoral letter addressed to China Christian Council President Rev Dr Gao Feng, Mr McMillan offered the Church’s support to the people of China during this time of crisis.
“Having just travelled through China in May, I understand the impact of the Yangtze River to the millions of people living along its banks,” he said.
“The Uniting Church in Australia stands in solidarity with the Chinese people. We pray for those affected by the floods, the hundreds of thousands being evacuated, and millions of famers who have lost their crops.
“Above all, we pray for families who have lost their loved ones. To all the rescue workers and relief forces, we pray, let the Lord’s mercy strengthen your work.”
Mr McMillan referenced a passage from 1 Cor 12:26 – “if one member suffers, all suffer together with it” – to express the Uniting Church’s solidarity with its partner church.
“As you reach out in love, we pray for local congregations involved in emergency relief, particularly in Anhui and Jiangsu provinces,” he said.
“We pray that people seeking care can find in the church a household of hope. May the Lord give comfort to all the people in suffering, and our solidarity give them support in their time of need.”
Rev Dr Ji Zhang, UnitingWorld’s manager of church partnerships (Asia) has written a prayer for the people affected by the floods.
Prayer of Intercession
God of compassion
You are the source of all comfort and care.
Today we pray for the people in China,
for their lives have been devastated by rain and flood.
Bring them safety and comfort,
Protect their homes and belongings,
Sustain them with care and love,
May our prayers strengthen the weak,
Keep the spread of disease within the limits of God’s compassion.
We pray for all members of the Chinese church,
support their brothers and sisters in this time of needs.
May our prayer strengthen the rescue workers and forces,
Have mercy on them.
We pray for the local communities
as they feed the hungry and care for the homeless.
Give them your enduring care.
We pray the peace of the Lord be with our partner church
and our response to their suffering be compassionate.
May the Lord give comfort to all the peoples in suffering.
and our fraternal solidarity give them support in their needs.
For we ask it in Jesus name,
You can read the original letter from the China Christian Council in both English and Chinese.
Image from Xinyan via Twitter.