China quake relief updated 12 Mar 2003

News and Press Release
Originally published
FHI is aiding thousands left hungry and homeless in the wake of an earthquake in north-western China's Xinjiang Province.
FHI and its partner organisation, based in Hong Kong, have targeted 3,153 families to receive distributions of wheat flour, cooking oil and coal in the next few days. FHI's partner also plans to help schools by distributing 100 coal-burning stoves and 27 tonnes of coal to heat chilly classrooms. The distributions are centred in Yepuhu and Jiashi Counties.

An FHI staff member is remaining in the region to determine how to assist in rebuilding damaged infrastructure, including homes, schools, health clinics, and farmland irrigation systems.

The February 24 quake has affected 510,000 people according to the United Nations. 268 people have been killed and another 4,000 were injured.

The UN also reports that the collapse of 70,000 housing units has left thousands vulnerable to the cold winter weather. Tents distributed for temporary shelter have provided some measure of protection. But with temperatures dropping as low as -6 C in the days after the quake, officials have been very concerned that some people could die as a result of exposure to the cold.

FHI's partner earlier distributed medicines and medical supplies in Bachu County, where the Red Cross reports most of the casualties occurred.

The affected area is in a remote corner of China, on the border with Kyrgyzstan. It is considered to be one of China's poorest regions with most people making their living as subsistence farmers. Ninety percent of the population is Uighur, a predominantly Muslim ethnic group.