Xinjiang Earthquake Update: World Vision Relief Team in action

By Wendy Chan -- Communications Officer

Today World Vision China's relief team arrived in Bachu County and immediately swung into action. Bachu County is the hardest hit area in the earthquake. Although the epicenter is located in sparsely populated Jiashi County, most of the casualties are reported in Bachu. 265 out of the 266 casualties occurred in Bachu County with 50,000 residents in three townships of Bachu affected by the quake.

"The situation is really critical. In heavily damaged villages in Bachu County, most of the houses were flattened after the tremor, even brick houses collapsed and fallen debris caused most of the injuries," said Meimei Leung, Relief Officer, who is now visiting different villages in Bachu County.

To meet the victims' need of food, World Vision has initially pledged 500,000 yuan (USD 62,500) as a first stage commitment for this relief and rehabilitation operation in Xinjiang. Our team plans to distribute flour to 10,000 quake victims in the coming few weeks and will help to rebuild schools after the acute phase.

To date, more than 700 aftershocks have been recorded in the quake-affected zone, including Jiashi and Bachu counties. This is the worst earthquake in the region's history for the past five decades. The latest death toll increased to 266, with more than 2,050 people seriously injured. Over 8,800 houses and 900 classrooms have collapsed. The strongest aftershock reached more than 5.0 on the Richter scale yesterday. Water and electricity systems were badly damaged and more than 11,300 livestock killed. The government is still assessing the total economic loss. Fortunately, the temperature has risen yesterday, at night the temperatures stood at a few degrees Celsius above freezing. With aftershocks continuing, people have to sleep outdoor under temporary shelter.

With good government support, the operation has been going on smoothly so far. Again, WV is the first international NGO to arrive at the disaster site and to start the initial assessment, and by now relief supply procurement procedures are underway.

Media interview: please contact Meimei Leung, Relief Officer (86) 1397-9225268 for media interview.

For communications materials, please contact Wendy Chan, Communications Officer Tel: (852) 2309 6131, Fax: (852) 2394 1578.

World Vision China once launched earthquake relief operations in Jiashi County and Yuepuhu County, Xinjiang in 1997 and has implemented the Area Development Programme (ADP) in Hotan Prefecture of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region since 2000. Hotan Prefecture is not affected by the quake.