China: Inner Mongolia Earthquake - Information Bulletin n° 1

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This Information Bulletin is for information only. The Federation is not seeking any funding or other assistance from donors for this operation at this time.

The Situation

Some 115,000 people have been left homeless in and around Chifeng city following an earthquake, which struck North China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region on Saturday 16 August. The earthquake measuring 5.9 on the Richter scale left a reported 1,054 people injured and three people dead. The earthquake is said to be the most serious earthquake in the area in 700 years.

Bairin Left Banner (county) and Ar Horqin Banner, some 500 kilometres northeast of Beijing, sustained the greatest amount of damage due to the earthquake. According to the most recent reports, slightly over 7,900 homes were completely destroyed and 83,000 were damaged. According to the Chinese Ministry of Civil Affairs the earthquake, which also led to power cuts and a landslide, caused 1.38 billion RMB (USD 1.68 million) in damage.

The Chinese Ministry of Civil Affairs sent 5,000 tents to the disaster area. Local civil affairs departments sent 1,500 quilts and warm clothing to assist those who have been left homeless with battling heavy rain and night-time temperatures which drop to 10 degrees Celcius. At the same time, Inner Mongolia's bureau of Civil Affairs has submitted a request to the government for support with resettling the 115,000 people who are now without their homes.

The earthquake comes as a particularly harsh blow following February's earthquake in Xinjang and the earthquake in Yunnan in July. Additionally, heavy flooding continues to affect provinces surrounding the Huai He Valley where close to two million people have been left homeless (see Federation Appeal 18/2003 China:Floods).

Red Cross/Red Crescent Action

The Red Cross Society of China's (RCSC) Inner Mongolia Provincial branch responded immediately to the earthquake. Local branch staff from the Chifeng City RCSC branch distributed medicine valuing RMB 60,000, clothing and quilts. Additionally, RCSC distributed 20 family tents in the affected area. A photo depicting RCSC assistance with tents was featured on the cover of the 18 August edition of the China Daily. The Inner Mongolia Provincial Branch of the RCSC has significant experience with disaster response having implemented Federation supported operations in response to blizzards in 2001.

On 18 August, RCSC national headquarters in Beijing released RMB 50,000 to the Society's Inner Mongolia Provincial Branch to be used for the purchase of rice and wheat flour. RCSC National Headquarters will also send 1,000 quilts for distribution in the affected area.

The Federation's East Asia regional information delegate conducted an interview with BBC television on 18 August.

For a full description of the National Society profile, see

For further information please contact:

  • Mr. Wang Xiaohua, Director of the External Relations Department, Red Cross Society of China, Phone +86-10-6513-5838, Fax +86-10-6512-4169, Email
  • Mr. Alistair Henley, Head of the East Asia Regional Delegation, Phone +86 1350 1205 972, Fax +86-10-6532-7166, Email
  • Mr. Satoshi Sugai, Desk Officer, Phone +41 22 730 4273, Fax +41 22 733 0395, Email

All International Federation assistance seeks to adhere to the Code of Conduct and is committed to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response (SPHERE Project) in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable.

For support to or for further information concerning Federation programmes or operations in this or other countries, please access the Federation website at

MAP - China: Earthquake - Situation Map