Volunteers race to offer help

Updated: 2013-07-24 07:20

By Mu Qian in Dingxi, Gansu and Jin Haixing in Beijing (China Daily)

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Large numbers of volunteers from Gansu and other provinces are rushing to the areas hit by a magnitude-6.6 earthquake on Monday to help with relief work.

The earthquake jolted the border of Minxian and Zhangxian counties in Dingxi on Monday morning, leaving 95 dead, one missing, and more than 1,000 people injured, according to local authorities.

The NGO One Foundation sent four volunteer rescue teams and relief materials to the quake zone.

"The 27 volunteers come from Beijing, Xinjiang, Sichuan and Qinghai," said Jiang Yili, director-general of One Foundation's rescue unit.

Jiang said he sent a team to Anjiashan immediately after being told by volunteers there were no rescue workers in the village.

Chen Guangbiao, a Chinese entrepreneur and philanthropist, arrived at Zhangxian county early on Tuesday morning with more than 30 volunteers and relief supplies, according to a People.com.cn report.

Local volunteers also helped.

"I normally only see disaster news on TV and cannot help. But as a local person, I felt committed to aiding the victims this time because the earthquake happened in my hometown," said Ren Feng, a medical graduate student of Fudan University in Shanghai.

Ren, 23, a native of Minxian, said he went to Hetuo with food for victims in the township.

Hetuo was not as badly hit as some areas and it did not receive as much relief supplies as other locations.

In consequence, it was important that local residents got involved in relief work, said Ren, who plans to stay in the area longer to help.

He Aihe, a 46-year-old farmer in Yuejiawan village, said he went to the hard-hit Yongxing village to lend a hand even though his own house collapsed during the earthquake.

On Monday, He took 300 mantou, or steamed buns, to the residents.

He said relief supplies have arrived at the village gradually, and he will continue to participate in relief work such as helping rescuers pitch tents and search for survivors.

Local authorities have encouraged volunteers to pay attention to their directives because traffic is heavy on roads leading to the quake zone.

The Dingxi government said on Monday that drivers should take detours so relief vehicles will not be delayed entering the region.

On Tuesday, local authorities imposed temporary traffic restrictions on several highways in Minxian to ensure vehicles carrying relief supplies are not obstructed.

Contact the writers at jinhaixing@chinadaily.com.cn

Shen Jiahui contributed to this story.

(China Daily USA 07/24/2013 page4)