According to Caritas Hong Kong, the earthquake that shook the Sichuan Province in Southwest China a week ago has claimed the lives of 200 people and wounded 12,000 affecting over 1.5 million inhabitant living in the province. “In the villages I visited the most urgently needed supplies are tents, plastic sheeting and blankets as well as drugs, analgesics, anti-inflammatory soap, food, oil” says Br. Yi , a Caritas volunteers.
The Chinese government has been quick to respond and dispatch teams and troops as it is the second disaster hitting that the region in the past five years. Search and rescue teams are operating around the clock and desperately fighting against time to save as many lives as possible whilst the continuing aftershocks are impeding with their rescue efforts. The pressure is mounting as most of the relief materials can only be transported to the affected areas after the completion of the rescue team work.
Thank signs from children in Sichuan
Over 26,000 houses have been destroyed according to Caritas Hong Kong reports, but despite the familiarity with this type of disaster, the branch office of the Wanzhou Catholic Social Service Centre in Chongqing were not allowed to enter the quake hit area. The Emergency Command Centre has announced that only medical professionals and rescue teams are allowed to operate in the affected areas. According to an update by the Mianyang Ivy Social Service Center (MISC) tents, food and water are being provided by the government.
The relief team on their way back with a injured solider
Caritas partners are struggling to reach Taiping, a remote township near the epicentre of Saturday’s deadly earthquake.
The earthquake of 6.6 magnitudes struck the province of Sichuan in Southwest China on 20 April, killing nearly 200 people, leaving thousands of people injured and causing significant damages.
Staff members from a local Caritas partner organisation, Jinde Charities, flew immediately to the disaster zone where they have been able to provide some aid through church networks.
Mary Wu of the relief team said they learned that the situation in Taiping is very serious so they took an ambulance from a church-run hospital there.
But landslides caused by aftershocks prevented them reaching the town. More than 1,000 aftershocks have been reported after earthquake.The government stopped ngos from proceeding, fearing accidents. However, the Jinde team were able to take an injured soldier back for treatment.
By Debbie Lo, Caritas Hong Kong
Many thanks for the concerns and prayers for the victims of the Qinghai earthquake in mainland China!
Just a short note to share with you what Caritas-HK and our local partner, Xian Catholic Social Service Center have been doing for the earthquake survivors.
Right after the earthquake on 14 April, Mainland Service Desk of Caritas-HK had contacted our local partner, Xian Catholic Social Service Centre (XCSSC) to see what we can do for the victims. However, the altitude of the quake-hit area in Qinghai province is about 4,000 m. It is not easy to check the situation and needs over there within a short period of time. It was only 19 April that we received an update from XCSSC about their assessment trip in the quake-hit area in Qinghai which is as follow:
The weather in the quake-hit region is bad with snow and intermittent rain in these few days, which have increased the suffering of survivors sleeping outdoors after thousands of homes collapsed. The bad weather threatens transportation and relief work. Rescuers and survivors face frequent aftershocks. Up to now, more than 1200 aftershocks have shaken the region since the main earthquake. The local government is afraid that the icy weather will bring more misery in the days ahead. Continue reading