Quake Shocks Sichuan
Nation demonstrates progress in dealing with severe disaster
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Print Edition> Nation
UPDATED: April 23, 2010 NO. 17 APRIL 29, 2010
Relief in Action
A country in mourning is investing all its efforts to help those in need after a disastrous earthquake in Qinghai

Meeting basic needs

With all local houses still unsafe to occupy and the lowest temperature at night falling below freezing point in Yushu, food, water, weather-proof tents, quilts and coats were in short supply immediately after the earthquake. Gusts of wind and sandstorms since the earthquake had blown many tents at the temporary settlements down, including some serving as clinics. Rain, snowstorms and hailstorms that started to hit the quake-jolted area on April 19 caused the road between Yushu and Xining to freeze. The slippery road stranded many trucks transporting relief supplies.

The Ministry of Civil Affairs and the National Committee for Disaster Reduction initiated a top-level emergency response for disaster relief on the afternoon of April 14. After allocating 200 million yuan ($29.3 million) for disaster relief on April 14, the Central Government added another 300 million yuan ($44.1 million) in funds on April 20, which is to be used for rescue, living subsidies for those rescued, treatment of the injured, epidemic prevention, reconstruction of education and other public facilities.

The Central Government has also earmarked 4,600 tons of grain, including 3,680 tons of wheat flour and 920 tons of rice, for Yushu, said the Qinghai Provincial Development and Reform Commission on April 18. The commission confirmed that the relief grain will be allotted to quake victims in accordance with a standard of 0.5 kg per person per day for three months.

Talking about the ratio between wheat flour and rice in the allocated grain, Zou Ming, an official from the Ministry of Civil Affairs, said at a press conference on April 18 that the 4:1 ratio was decided after considering local people's dietary habits. Zou also said some relief supplies distributed by local civil affairs authorities to earthquake victims cater to the special needs of people from ethnic minorities.

To alleviate the difficulties of evacuees caused by the sudden drop in temperature and volatile weather, the Ministry of Commerce said on April 19 that it has sent 3,000 heating stoves and a number of mobile shops to Yushu. The Ministry of Civil Affairs allocated 3,000 heating stoves on April 19 and another 1,000 on April 20.

The Qinghai Provincial Civil Affairs Department said on April 19 that it was purchasing 200,000 heating stoves from across the country, which would be distributed with coal amongst the evacuees as soon as possible.

Qinghai has received 586 million yuan ($85.8 million) in donations, according to a statement from the provincial Department of Finance on April 19. The total donations as of 4:00 p.m. on April 18 included 405 million yuan ($58.7 million) in cash and 181 million yuan ($26.6 million) worth of relief supplies.

An evening charity show on April 20 by national broadcaster CCTV raised 2.175 billion yuan ($319 million) for the victims.

Families of people killed in the earthquake will receive a subsidy of 8,000 yuan ($1,176) per victim, of which 5,000 yuan ($735) will come from the Central Government and 3,000 yuan ($441) from the provincial government.

A massive power outage caused by the earthquake greatly hindered the effectiveness of medical treatment for the earthquake injured. The power disruption was only alleviated after the arrival of relief power supply vehicles and generators the day after the earthquake.

However, due to the hard work of 600 power technicians in repairing the local grid, Yushu's main power grid had fully resumed operation, said the local grid company on April 20.

The next priority was to repair the lines connecting the urban and suburban areas and restore power supplies to the remote countryside, said Wang Huaiming, General Manager of the Qinghai Electric Power Corp.

Although up to 111 of the 185 mobile base stations in Yushu had been unavailable as a result of disruptions to equipment, power and fuel supplies during the earthquake, all of Yushu's 45 villages recovered their contact with the outside world less than 24 hours after the earthquake thanks to the immediate repair of telecommunications facilities, said Miao Wei, Vice Minister of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) at a press conference on April 19. By 8 p.m. April 19, fixed-line services had been restored in all 45 villages.

The ministry, together with China's major telecommunication operators, had sent 908 rescue workers, 82 emergency communications vehicles, 132 satellite phones, 369 electric generators and emergency telecommunications equipment to Yushu, Miao said.

The Central Government had started to draw up post-quake reconstruction plans, which included ensuring the supply of construction materials and helping small and medium-sized enterprises resume production.

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