Roads jammed as rescuers swarm to quake zone

Updated: 2013-04-21 14:44


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YA'AN, Sichuan - Rescuers on their way to China's quake-hit areas are being hindered by traffic, as survivors wait for food, medical aid and to be evacuated.

Traffic authorities in Sichuan Province on Sunday banned private cars' access to Lushan County in the city of Ya'an, the epicenter. Too many civilians were eager to offer help that they jammed roads preventing professional rescuers from getting to areas.

Other provincial governments have also sent medical and evacuation teams to assist Sichuan's rescue.

China International Search and Rescue Team is stranded outside downtown Ya'an. The 300 technicians and medics only managed to crawl 500 meters in half an hour.

A Xinhua reporter in Lushan said it took 10 hours for him to travel 200 kilometers from the region's air hub Chengdu Airport to the Baosheng Township, one of the hardest-hit areas.

"Only vehicles of medical and rescue professionals are now allowed to take the roads to quake-hit areas. Even military and cargo transportation are being stopped," said an official with Sichuan Traffic Police.

Cai Jing, deputy secretary-general with Sichuan provincial government, said the tremor obstructed most of roads in the earthquake region and with rescuers pouring in, the traffic is causing problems.

"We advise against private rescue trips," Cai said.

On Sina Weibo, China's Twitter-like microblogging site, celebrities and star bloggers are calling on the public to demonstrate their compassion by not going to Ya'an.

"The first 72 hours is the golden time for rescue. Please let the professionals take the roads of life first," wrote former Google China head Kai-fu Lee.