China: Red Cross Red Crescent responds to massive earthquake

Published: 15 April 2010

A 7.1-magnitude earthquake in China’s Qinghai Province has killed at least 617 people and injured a further 10,000 people on Wednesday, 14 April. 313 people are still missing. According to the US Geological Survey, this is the strongest quake to have hit the remote mountainous area since 1976.

The earthquake toppled 15,000 residential buildings, forcing 100,000 residents to relocate. Electricity, water and communication are completely cut off, while roads linking the airport and Jiegu were blocked by landslides that had been triggered by the quake. Air transportation has been established from Xining.

Immediate response

Many people are still buried under the debris of collapsed houses near the epicentre in Jiegu, home to some 100,000 people. Most of the survivors spent the night sleeping in the open amid freezing weather or sought temporary shelters in buildings that remained unaffected by the tremor. Rescuers have set up more than 40 tents for survivors in Jiegu, but more are urgently needed.

In an immediate effort to support humanitarian needs, the Red Cross Society of China (RCSC) has dispatched 500 tents, 4,000 quilts and 4,000 winter clothes valued at approximately 1,000,000 China Yuan Renminbi (approximately Swiss francs 155,000, 146,000 US dollars or 108,000 euro). These vital resources are expected to reach the worst-hit areas on Thursday, 15 April. RCSC branches such as the Guangxi, Shaanxi, Guangdong and Hong Kong branches have also mobilized cash and in-kind donations.

Red Cross rescue teams on the spot

RCSC search and rescue teams have already reached the area, and two medical teams from the Beijing Red Cross branch were also sent to the area. Along with the team, eight ambulances, a first-aid unit, a surgery unit, a food aid unit and emergency communication equipment were also brought in.

RCSC has also deployed one water unit and one sanitation unit which was used during the Sichuan Earthquake operation in 2008. Both units are already on their way to the area and are expected to be in place soon.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) East Asia regional office is closely monitoring the situation together with RCSC and providing updated information as it becomes available. It has indicated readiness to support RCSC’s relief operation however necessary.

The IFRC has an in-country communications delegate to support interview requests.

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