Aid needed in quake-hit regions
Updated: 2013-07-24 01:50
By Mu Qian and Xue Chaohua in Dingxi, Gansu, and Zhao Lei in Beijing (China Daily)
Many residents in less-damaged villages still struggling with most basic necessities
Relief materials are urgently needed in quake-hit areas in Gansu province, local officials said.
Zhang Yidu, deputy mayor of Dingxi, said Zhangxian and Minxian counties are in great need of 14,000 tents, 24,000 quilts, food, drinking water, as well as medical facilities and medicine.
Three-year-old Wang Xiru cries in the arms of her father on Tuesday in Lalu, Gansu province. They have to live in a tent after their house collapsed in the earthquake. photo by Feng Yongbin / China Daily
Zhang said the counties also lack necessities such as beds, generators and emergency lighting.
Food and drinking water have been distributed to residents in the worst-hit areas, but people living in villages that were less affected are still struggling with the most basic necessities, officials told China Daily on Tuesday.
“What we need most are quilts, a lot of quilts,” said Dong Caiwa, head of Lalu village, one of the severely affected areas. “The temperature at night is usually 12 or 13 degrees colder than the daytime, so people will possibly fall ill without a tent, quilt or heating equipment.”
Eight people from Lalu were killed in the quake, and 20 were seriously injured.
Tents and quilts are also in short supply in the village of Yongxing, the quake’s epicenter, with many residents having to share one tent.
A total of 300 tents, 4,000 quilts and 6,000 clothing items from the Red Cross Society of China have been transported to the affected regions, and more than 4,000 quilts have been sent to Minxian county by the provincial disaster relief materials depository.
According to Gansu Civil Affairs Bureau, 12,480 tents, 15,000 quilts, 28,350 cases of instant noodles, and a large amount of drinking water, candles and clothes have been collected from around the nation till 4 pm on Tuesday.
However, it will take some time before every resident in the quake-hit areas receives these materials due to traffic congestion and limited transport capability, officials said.
Death toll rises
As of press time on Tuesday, the death toll from the magnitude-6.6 earthquake that jolted Minxian and Zhangxian counties on Monday morning had risen to 95. The disaster injured more than 1,000 people, according to the Gansu provincial earthquake emergency response center.
An initial investigation showed the quake caused 51,800 houses to collapse and severely damaged around 240,000.
More than 2,800 troops, 280 vehicles and two helicopters from the Lanzhou Military Command of the People’s Liberation Army have been allocated to the rescue and relief work, and they are joined by more than 1,600 People’s Armed Police officers.
“Since our base is quite far from the quake-hit region, we arrived here at 4 pm yesterday (on Monday),” said Zheng Xiangli, a publicity officer with the forest patrol regiment of the People’s Armed Police in Longnan, a neighboring city in Gansu.
“The traffic was a headache partly because the roads were heavily damaged. Moreover, too many vehicles from outside were trying to enter the quake-hit areas. We had to walk one hour on a mountainous trail to get to Lalu,” he said.
The soldiers have helped villagers pitch tents and tear down damaged walls that were prone to collapse, he said, adding the priority has shifted to retrieving residents’ belongings, especially food and quilts.
Stormy weather could cause more troubles. Rain is expected in the quake-hit areas through Thursday, according to the weather forecast. The rainfall will cause temperatures to drop and make rescue efforts more difficult, the local government said. The provincial flood control headquarter has asked workers to be prepared for possible emergencies.
Medical personnel said the rainfall will add difficulties to their work.
“Some residents have caught colds and several people have diarrhea,” said Lin Zhiqian, a doctor from Hetuo Township Hospital. “We have sent workers to spray disinfectant and distribute sterilizing pills to villagers.”