Situation Report No. 2 on the Yunnan Earthquake

The People's Republic of China
7:30 pm (+8:00 GMT) on 18 January 2000
Oxfam Hong Kong
Information was collected from Oxfam Hong Kong field staff, local partners, counterparts, civil affairs departments and NGOs working in China.

A. Brief Update

Continuous aftershocks still pose a threat to 120,000 homeless people who are mostly staying outdoors under sub-zero night temperatures.

The first batch of Oxfam Hong Kong's relief materials is being transported from Kunming to Chuxiong Prefecture this evening (Jan18). They are expected to arrive in the prefecture seat later tonight and arrive in Zuomen Township tomorrow (Jan 19) morning. The materials, worth about RMB180,000, include 1,000 pieces of thick quilts, 1,000 pieces of cotton blankets and 6,000 square metres of plastic sheetings for temporary shelters. Another RMB100,000 worth of rice was sourced from the Yao'an County Seat. Distribution of all these materials will start in three villages in the hilly areas of Zuomen Township tomorrow noon (Jan 19). A total of 440 households (or 1,839 people) will benefit.

B. General Situation

The Chinese authorities clarified yesterday that the affected number of people in this earthquake was only around 200,000 people, unlike the figure of 2 million as quoted by many media reports earlier.

The death toll increased to 5 yesterday. Local officials continued their warnings on possible powerful aftershocks.

As most other external and government relief efforts are focusing on those affected surrounding Guantuan Township, Oxfam Hong Kong will continue its relief work in remoter and poorer areas such as Zuomen Township nearby that were also hard hit but have less capacity to cope with their immediate needs.

In Zuomen Administrative Village, Yangla Administrative Village and Piaola Administrative Village where Oxfam Hong Kong is working, 55 per cent of the 1,839 villagers are facing food shortage. A total of 1,228 rooms (not houses) were collapsed and 2,582 rooms were damaged.

C. Oxfam Hong Kong's Work

Oxfam field staff will continue their relief work in Zuomen Township and further assessment in other nearby remote villages. Oxfam is also alert about the further damages and dangers in the expected powerful aftershocks. A public appeal for HKD1 million will be launched tomorrow. Oxfam is capable of meeting the present scale of humanitarian needs that have been identified, and is ready to scale up relief efforts if needed. For rehabilitation needs, details are to be further assessed.

Compiled by China Team
Oxfam Hong Kong