China: Death toll from earthquake rises to 268, World Vision responds

by Wendy Chan - Communications
The death toll from last Monday's quake measuring 6.8 on the Richter scale that struck Xinjiang has now climbed to 268. People are still under threat of aftershocks with more than 700 being recorded in the quake-affected zone, including Jiashi, Bachu and Yuepuhu counties (close to the border of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan).

World Vision Relief Team moved to Yuepuhu County for relief assessment today and found that the county was badly damaged by the biggest aftershock measuring 5.5 on the Richter scale which occurred on 25 February. The aftershock affected more than 16,400 people and badly damaged 7,000 houses, of which 2,000 houses collapsed. "Many people are still living in outdoor areas and the government is rushing to transport temporary shelters to this area," said Meimei Leung, World Vision Relief Officer.

Following the earthquake, over 18,861 houses totally collapsed, 34,350 houses were badly damaged and more than 103,300 villagers made homeless. Many water and electricity systems were damaged and more than 37,800 large farm animals were killed. Apart from the urgent need for the reconstruction of houses and schools, the high casualty rate means that many families have lost their main bread winner.

World Vision plans to assist 10,800 beneficiaries. The relief plan includes the distribution of 150,000kg of relief flour to 10,000 disaster victims in Kashgar Prefecture for one-month consumption and the reconstruction of three quake-resistant school buildings as well as the provision of financial assistance to 50 families to rebuild their houses.