The Red Cross Society of China (RCSC) Headquarters has confirmed 266 people killed and more than 4,000 people injured in the earthquake, which struck a remote province thousands of kilometres from Beijing. Most of the casualties are reported to be in Bachu county. In this areas the climate is temperate continental and winters can be very cold. Survivors are currently living in tents and temporary shelters made of plastic sheeting.
The total population of the two affected counties, Jiashi and Bachu, is 561,000. about 90% of whom are Uighur, a Turkic-speaking minority. They are for the most part peasants, growing cotton, melon, herbs, mushrooms and hemp/linen.
The earthquake's epicentre was between Bachu and Jiashi counties in the southern part of Tian Shan mountains bordering Kyrgyzstan. Although Xinjiang is prone to earthquakes, this one is the most serious to hit the region in 50 years. According to the seismic forecast, there are possibilities of aftershocks of 6.0 or higher on the Richter scale.
The Ministry of Civil Affairs together with the local and central authorities have taken charge of the food, water and shelter needs. The water supply system has been badly affected. Clean drinking water, winter clothes, blankets, tents and coal are urgently needed.
CCTV9, China's English language national TV station, last night reported on the work of the Red Cross in the affected area.
Red Cross/Red Crescent Action
A relief team led by the Vice President of the RCSC Xinjiang branch reached the affected area at noon on 25 February, bringing 2,000 pieces of clothing and 1,000 quilts for distribution.
An assessment team was dispatched from RCSC Headquarters yesterday. The International Federation Delegate joined the team in Urumqi. The team will be arriving in the affected area tomorrow morning to assist the local Red Cross assessment.
With the support of the RCSC headquarters, the Urumqi branch of the Chinese Red Cross is organizing today a press conference to raise funds for the victims. Provincial Red Cross branches and enterprises have shown their support in money and kind including tents, quilts, clothing, medicine and medical equipment.
The following contributions have so far been received (1CHF=6.1RMB): RCSC Headquarters, 250,000 RMB; Shanghai Red Cross branch, 150,000 RMB; Yunnan Red Cross branch, 50,000 RMB; Jiangsu Red Cross branch, 50,000 RMB and 100 tents; Taiwan Red Cross organization, 100,000 US; Shandong Red Cross, 50,000; Hong Kong Red Cross agreed to release relief items value of 500,000 RMB in the Xinjiang Red Cross DP Centre; Guangzhou municipality Red Cross branch, 20,000 RMB in goods; Guangzhou Dai Yun Shan Pharma, 100,000 RMB in medicaments; Guangxi Wu Shou Pharma, 210,000 RMB in medicine; Pfizer Pharma, 1.12 million RMB in medical equipment and medical supplies; Hongji Enterprise, 260,000 RMB in goods and winter coats worth 1 million RMB from a clothes manufacturer in Shenzhen..
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