Amount Requested: US$ 497,982
Geneva, 20 August 2010
On April 14, 2010, a 7.1-magnitude earthquake hit northwest China's Qinghai Province. The quake struck Yushu County at 7:49 a.m. with a depth of 33 km and an epicentre 30 km away from the downtown area of Yushu County in the Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. There have been many aftershocks including one of a 6.3-magnitude that happened the same day. By 30 May 2010, a total of 2,698 people had been confirmed dead, with 270 people missing and 12,135 injured (1,434 severely injured). More than 150,000 civilian houses collapsed in the earthquake and aftershocks. Officials have warned that aftershocks of over 5.5 magnitude are likely to continue.
Yushu County is located in the remote Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, in the rugged terrain of the Tibetan highlands. The county's population of approximately 100,000 people is spread out over a vast area, with a concentration of people around Gyêgu town. Chinese ACT member Amity Foundation reports that the majority of the population are nomadic pastoralists, farmers and traders with unstable incomes and limited capacity to recover without assistance from such a massive shock. Buildings in the area are mostly simple structures of wood, earth and brick.
The Chinese Earthquake Administration initiated a Grade II emergency response and dispatched rescue teams to the affected area. Military police and the army stationed in the Tibetan region undertook the initial rescue operations. The Qinghai provincial government sent 5000 tents and 100,000 heavy coats and blankets to help survivors cope with strong winds and near-freezing temperatures of 6 =B0C or 43 =B0F. Amity Foundation has been responding from the onset of the emergency, mobilising funds, staff and volunteers to bring immediate relief assistance to the affected population in the face of sub-zero weather conditions, snow, rain, hail storms, high altitude and difficult transport conditions to remote locations. Amity has transported food rations, quilts, drinking water and sanitary items for women.
While significant resources have been mobilized to date by the government, the Chinese Red Cross, Amity Foundation and other local organizations, Amity reports that there are gaps in the assistance to communities in the more remote townships and villages, and in terms of special requirements for vulnerable groups.