|Press Release 2008/05/15 - Quake deaths estimated over 50,000; 19,509 confirmed; Government making utmost efforts to save and help its people|
|[Released in New York at 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, 15 May 2008]|
For Immediate Release
Quake deaths estimated over 50,000; 19,509 confirmed
http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/ http://english.cctv.com/ http://www.china-un.org/
Earthquake had claimed 19,509 lives by Thursday afternoon, 15 May 2008, and the death toll is expected to rise and exceed 50,000. The total area of hard-hit regions is more than 100,000 square kilometers. 44 counties and districts in China's southwest Sichuan Province were severely affected by the quake and about half of the 20 million population in these areas were directly affected. More than 400 small dams may have been damaged by earthquake and aftershocks. Over 60,000 injured people, including 12,587 severely injured patients, had been rescued in quake-hit areas in Sichuan Province as of Thursday morning, all receiving timely medical treatment, according to the Sichuan quake control and relief headquarters said. Premier Wen Jiabao said at a Wednesday night meeting that "We must use all our forces, and save lives at whatever costs.
As of 10 p.m. May 15, at least 12,300 people in affected regions were still buried.
Since most of the quake-hit areas are mountainous villages, thousands of rescuers and hundreds of tons of materials have been held up on the way to the quake's epicenter, blocked by rocks and mud shaken onto roadside, making air support a vital need. Rain stopped on May 14 and fair weather has been forecast for 3 days, which is good news for both rescuers and victims, although they may have to cope with more showers and thunderstorms in a few days.
Thousands of private car owners have voluntarily joined in disaster relief, sending food, water, clothes and medicines to surviving victims.
Wednesday, 14 May 2008
Chinese premier orders deployment of 90 more helicopters for quake relief: Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has ordered the armed forces and civil aviation department to deploy 90 more helicopters for rescue missions in quake-hit Sichuan province. The decision was made at a late Wednesday evening meeting of the national quake relief headquarters held on a running train from Sichuan provincial capital Chengdu to Guangyuan city about 200 kilometers away. China's air force will deploy 60 more helicopters and the other 30 will be provided by the civil aviation industry, according to the headquarters headed by Wen himself. Since the rescue missions started on Monday, 20 helicopters have been dispatched to quake-hit areas for reconnaissance, food and water airdropping, transporting injured people and delivering rescuers.
As of mid-Wednesday, rescuers have reached all the affected counties and began rescue efforts there. Throughout Wednesday, 18,277 injured people were rescued in Sichuan, increasing the total number of rescued victims to 64,725. Among them are 1,620 people seriously injured.
Relief headquarters meeting decided on Wednesday night to mobilize 30,000 more troops for the relief efforts, raising the total number of PLA and armed police soldiers involved in the rescue operation to 100,000. More than 16,000 policemen are already involved in the rescue efforts.
China's air force, army aviation and civil aviation have made its largest noncombat air operation since Monday, mobilizing more than 150 airplanes in various relief missions. The air force has deployed more than 40 transporters which delivered about 8,600 rescuers and 200 tons of materials with more than 130 flights in 48 hours after quake. The force also parachuted 15 elite airborne troopers to a county close to the epicenter who jumped out of plane at about 4,900 meter above sea level and landed without ground instruction and weather reference on Wednesday afternoon.
China promises transparency in quake donation fund use: China's disaster relief authorities have promised to allow in public supervision as to how donation funds collected across the country would be used. "Relevant government departments will shine light on the spending of public donations, and will submit themselves to audit department at the end of disaster relief work, lest misappropriations occur," Wang Zhenyao, director of disaster relief with the Ministry of Civil Affairs said in an interview with China Central Television on Wednesday. As of 4 p.m. on Wednesday (48 hours after earthquake), domestic donations in both cash and goods to the quake-hit areas had risen to 877 million yuan (125 million U.S. dollars), according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs. Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao businesses with investments on the mainland had donated money, food or materials. Formosa Plastics Corp. donated 100 million yuan (14.3 million dollars) while Foxconn Technology Group contributed 60 million yuan (8.6 million dollars).
Thursday, 15 May 2008
More than 50,000 people are feared dead in Sichuan Province alone after Monday's 7.8-magnitude earthquake, the rescue headquarters of the State Council said on Thursday. The confirmed death toll in Sichuan was 19,509 by 4 p.m. Thursday, May 15, 2008. Another 102,103 people were injured. More than 100,000 Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers and armed police, 1,235 medical teams, local officials and volunteers were racing the clock for rescue and relief operations.
China sends 101 more helicopters to quake-hit area for relief work: China's Defense Ministry said early Thursday that it has ordered the deployment of 101 more helicopters to the quake-hit Sichuan province. The General Staff of the People's Liberation Army has ordered the airborne troops of the Army and Air Force to send 71 more transport helicopters to help the quake relief work, a spokesman of the Ministry told Xinhua. He said the civil aviation department will also send 30 transport helicopters to the quake-hit area. These helicopters will engage in airdropping materials, transferring the wounded and delivering troops, said the spokesman.
Damaged road to epicenter finally reconstructed, 78 hours after earthquake: As of 9:00 p.m. Thu. May 15, a damaged road leading to the county seat of Wenchun had been repaired and cleared for ground transport, thanks to the tireless road repairers. The road from Lixian to Wenchuan, on which workers made the fastest progress, was cut off after a 7.8-magnitude quake struck southwest China on Monday. The other three roads into Wenchuan county had also been blocked, making rescue and relief work difficult.
A Japanese emergency rescue team allowed access to quake zone: Based on the principle of vicinity and speediness, the Chinese government agreed to allow a professional rescue team dispatched by the Japanese government to go to the affected areas for rescue efforts. Foreign Ministry Spokesman Qin Gang expressed thanks to other countries for their offer to send rescue teams to the quake-hit areas and said that the Chinese departments concerned are looking into the possibility in light of the specific circumstances. The Japanese rescuers are expected to arrive in Sichuan on Friday.
Taiwan chartered flight arrives in Sichuan with relief materials: The chartered freight flight of the Taiwan-based China Airlines has arrived at Chengdu loaded with relief materials to quake-hit regions in Sichuan. It carried 110 tonnes of blankets, tents, clothes, first aid packets and other materials donated by Taiwan's charity institutions. The mainland also welcomes an earthquake rescue team sent by the Red Cross organization of Taiwan to help with relief work, says Chen Yunlin, Director of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council.
Hong Kong rescue team arrives in Chengdu: The volunteer team of Hong Kong SAR government officers have arrived in Sichuan province to help with rescue work in earthquake-stricken areas. Headed by a Fire Services Department officer, the team comprises 15 firefighters and 3 ambulancemen, as well as staff from the Health and Information Services Departments. The team has brought 4 tons of equipment including life detectors and masonry cutting machines. They will join local teams in search and rescue work upon arrival in quake zone.
Journalists of 20 overseas media outlets arriving in quake zone: 24 journalists of 20 overseas media outlets, an international media delegation organized and facilitated by the Information Office of the State Council, left Beijing for Chengdu, capital of Sichuan Province, on the evening of May 15. This is the first large-scale media team to go to the affected areas for media coverage since the earthquake. This media team is composed of 24 journalists from foreign media outlets, including AP, Reuters, NHK, NBC, and New York Times, and media outlets from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan. On Tuesday, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Qin Gang said that due to serious damage to transportation and communications facilities caused by the earthquake, news reporting in the disaster areas will be very difficult, but the Chinese government will do its utmost to create conditions for media coverage in the affected areas.
China appreciates and welcomes various kinds of assistance provided by the international community. Foreign Ministry Spokesman Qin Gang said in the regular press conference on May 15 that by 2 pm May 15, a total of 151 countries and 14 regional and international organizations have expressed their sympathy and condolences for the damage caused by the disaster.
31 Britons, 12 Americans and 2 Israelis stranded in Sichuan have been found safe. The Chinese government attaches great importance to the safety of foreign nationals in the disaster-affected areas. Strenuous efforts have been made to look for the missing and help survivors in the areas and the Chinese Foreign Ministry keeps in close contact with embassies and consulates generals of countries concerned in China. The Ministry confirmed the death of a German worker in earthquake-affected areas.
Domestic donations to quake-hit areas reaches 192 million U.S. dollars, 72 hours after quake: As of 3 p.m. on Thursday, May 15th, China's domestic donations in both cash and goods to the quake-hit areas had risen to 1,344 million yuan (192 million U.S. dollars), according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs. 28% of the total was from the governments of other provinces, regions and municipalities (donated to Sichuan, Shaanxi and Gansu).
China aims at "no big epidemic after a great disaster": No epidemics have been reported in the regions struck by Monday's earthquake in southwest China's Sichuan Province, Deputy Health Minister Gao Qiang told reporters on Thursday. Health Ministry and medical workers from across the country are trying to achieve the goal of 'no big epidemic after a great disaster'. Careful plans for disease control and prevention in disaster areas have been made and large number of medical workers have been sent to disaster areas to carry out the plans. China will "never give up" rescuing people buried in ruins in the quake-hit areas. "As long as there's a trace of hope, we'll make our utmost efforts and never give up."
Traumatized quake survivors to receive psychological intervention in China: China will help traumatized survivors with psychological intervention after a massive quake jolted southwest China's Sichuan Province. Deputy Minister of Health Gao Qiang said on Thursday that qualified psychologists would soon join the medical teams sent to the quake-hit regions, to give suitable psychological intervention to patients.
Rumor about polluted drinking water not true: There was a widespread rumor yesterday that drinking water in Chengdu, capital city of the quake-hit Sichuan province is polluted due to chemical leaks amid explosion of a chemical plant in Dujiangyan city. As a result, bottled water was soon sold out. A team of experts was sent by The Ministry of Environmental Protection to the plant for an investigation. Now monitor results indicate that the rumor is not true. Police department says people spreading panic-provoking rumors at this critical time will face due punishments.
China Grain Reserve Corp. supplying 164,000 tons of grain to Sichuan: China Grain Reserve Corporation has decided to provide disaster-hit regions with 164,000 tons of grain and oil to ensure the food safety of people there. What is most needed for people and troops doing rescue job there is rice, flour and oil. The company will do everything it can to make sure that the people in disaster regions are adequately fed. The company's Chengdu branch has already been ordered to transfer 100,000 tons of rice, 50,000 tons of flour and 14,000 tons of oil to disaster-hit region.
The Ministry of Civil Affairs of China has authorized the Red Cross Society of China and China Charity Federation to receive donations for quake-hit areas.
How to Donate to the Ministry of Civil Affairs of China
How to Donate to the Red Cross Society of China
The Red Cross Society of China (RCSC, http://www.redcross.org.cn/) called for donations to help victims in the earthquake-striken areas in southwest China's Sichuan Province. The commodities in urgent need such as tents, cotton-padded quilts, food, drinking water are not so easily be transported to the disaster-hit areas due to transportation difficulties, according to the RCSC. Donations in cash would be preferred at this stage, said an official with the RCSC.
Donations can be made directly to the RCSC through the following bank accounts:
The RCSC also opened a hotline +8610-6513-9999 and +8610-6402-7620 for enquiries and consultations during the daytime (Beijing Time). Internet Donation platform: http://www.cncard.net/08sc/
How to Donate to China Charity Federation
China Charity Federation donation hotline: (+8610) 66083260, 66083264, 66083194
Address: Floor 7, Xinlong Building, No. 33 Er Long Jia, Xicheng District, Beijing 100032
How to Donate to CCTF
Donations can be made to China Children and Teenagers' Fund (CCTF) by calling the either of the two hotline numbers: +8610-6510-3485 and +8610-6510-3491, or logging on the organization's website at www.cctf.org.cn
Released at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, 15 May 2008 (Eastern Daylight Time in the U.S.)