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MCC workers experience Chinese earthquake

May 12, 2008

AKRON, Pa. – A powerful earthquake struck central China at about 2:30 p.m. local time today, leveling buildings and claiming more than 8,000 lives, according to news reports.

Eight Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) workers are serving as English teachers at universities in the affected areas of Sichuan province and Chongquing municipality. All have been accounted for, and none were harmed in the earthquake, according to Kathleen Suderman, an MCC representative in Beijing.

MCC is monitoring the humanitarian needs created by the earthquake in anticipation of a possible relief response, Suderman said.

Several MCC workers were planning to spend the night in sports fields as a precaution against aftershocks, Suderman said.

"They're camped out with their students," she said.

MCC's English teachers in China are Deborah Brande, of Souderton, Pa.; Eric Eberly, of Hartville, Ohio; William Gray, of Amelia, Va.; Daryl Johnson, of Dannebrog, Neb.; Catherine McKinlay, of Otago, New Zealand; Carol Park, of Denver, Colo.; Mark Sunderman, of Binghamton, N.Y.; and Daniel Tursack, of Pottstown, Pa.