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AmeriCares earthquake relief supplies arrived in the devastated Chinese city of Yushu over the weekend. A 7.1 magnitude earthquake rocked remote Yushu, high in China’s northwest Qinghai province last Wednesday – the strongest quake to hit the area since 1976.
Survivors living in freezing conditions will be helped by AmeriCares donations of personal hygiene kits, blankets, food, tents, heating stoves and water. AmeriCares is working with local partners to deliver the critical aid to quake-affected areas. The aid delivery also includes two powerful electric generators and two water filtration systems.
“AmeriCares is working with a consortium of local aid groups to get relief supplies into the earthquake-affected areas,” reports Michael Chang, AmeriCares emergency response manager in China. “We are working together to reach the more rural areas where survivors have a more difficult time reaching the town center to access government aid.”
Chang also managed AmeriCares response to the 2008 Sichuan Earthquake; the situation in Yushu is drastically different. Delivering aid to Yushu has been all the more difficult due to damaged, congested roads. It took the aid caravan over 24 hours to travel to the city when it would usually only take 10-12 hours.
“Sichuan Province is among the most populated provinces in China. When the earthquake hit it affected millions of people,” said Chang. “Qinghai province, on the on the other hand, is one of the least populated provinces in China. While the damage at the epicenter is great, it has not had the same affect on the entire province.”
The earthquake has killed at least 2,000 people, according to the latest official statements. Over 12,000 were injured and hundreds are still missing. The earthquake toppled 85% of the houses, leaving more 100,000 people homeless out of a total population of 280,000. Access to the disaster zone has resumed and all major roads and bridges have reopened, allowing large excavation machinery and additional relief supplies to be rushed in.
AmeriCares is preparing additional aid, which will be delivered directly into rural villages where rescue and relief operations have been challenged by the high altitude, freezing temperatures and hail storms.