|Press Release 2008/05/16 - 5.12 earthquake: 22069 dead, 168669 injured, 88067 hospitalized; President in quake zone to encourage survivors and oversee relief; Saving lives remains the top priority|
|[Released in New York at 2:00 p.m. on Friday, 16 May 2008]|
For Immediate Release
China quake death toll rises to 22,069
Thursday, 15 May 2008
4,432 aftershocks in earthquake-hit southwest China: By midnight Thursday, 15 May 2008, 4,432 aftershocks had occurred after a devastating quake rocked southwestern Sichuan Province on Monday, according to Sichuan Seismological Bureau. The strongest aftershock was 6.5 magnitude.
1,412 overseas tourists safe in quake-hit regions: As of 9:00 p.m. on Thursday, 1,412 overseas tourists were confirmed safe in the quake-hit regions after a devastating earthquake rocked southwest China's Sichuan Province.
130,000 troops in rescue operations: As of 8:00 a.m. Thursday, more than 130,000 troops were engaged in rescue operations in areas ravaged by the quake. Rescuers had reached all 58 counties and towns stricken by Monday's massive quake. Military transporters and helicopters had taken 300 flights to transport or airdrop rescuers and relief supplies. Sniffer dogs were also dispatched to the quake-hit region to assist in search-and-rescue.
Ø The railways are being used to ship in soldiers and relief aid. Of the 56 trains carrying 28,000 troops to quake-hit areas, 21 trains, or more than 10,000 soldiers arrived before 6 p.m. Thursday, according to Chinese Ministry of Railways. A total of 844 railcars of civil materials are also en route, including 79,700 tents, 828,600 boxes of water, 18,870 pieces of medicine, and 351,100 cotton-padded coats and blankets. Also on the way are 157 railcars of rescue machinery and ambulances, 7 railcars of oil and 69 railcars of steel and other materials.
Ø As of Thursday morning, the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) has so far dispatched 72 medical teams with over 2,160 doctors and assistants to the affected areas, along with 20,000 bags of blood and a large amount of medical equipment and medicine worth 37 million yuan (about 5.2 million U.S. dollars). The Health Department of the General Logistic Department of the PLA is sending another 16 medical teams as well as more ambulances and other kinds of medical vehicles to the affected areas, to carry injured, prevent epidemic diseases and conduct surgical operations in the field.
Ø More than 6,800 PLA parachutists were in Deyang and Mianzhu cities and Wenchuan County, to help relief work. On Wednesday, they rescued 13 people from the ruins, dug up 125 dead bodies, and buried 350 corpses. Meanwhile, they repaired six kilometers of roads, discovered over 20,000 yuan (2,800 U.S. dollars) in cash and returned it to owners, and transported over 50 tonnes of relief goods by hand. Except for a small number of who were parachuted into the affected areas, the majority of them had to march to the site, because of difficult weather conditions.
17 punished for spreading disruptive rumors: China's public security departments have punished 17 rumormongers in the wake of the disastrous earthquake as of Thursday, according to the Ministry of Public Security. Public security bureaux in 11 provinces and municipalities found more than 40 messages that circulated malicious rumors about the earthquake on the Internet and found 17 people were responsible. These people "spread false information, made sensational statements and sapped public confidence." Among them, two were put in custody by local public security bureaux, a means of punishment that ranges from one to 15 days' detention, another two were asked to write apologies and another 13 were given warnings.
Friday, 16 May 2008
President arrives in quake-hit Sichuan: Upon arrival in Mianyang at Friday noon, President Hu jintao discussed the quake-relief work with Premier Wen Jiabao, who had been directing relief work in the disaster-hit areas since Monday. They agreed that "rescuers must reach not only towns but also all villages." The survivors who had been rescued must be transferred to safer places in time, and children who lost their parents and elders who lost their family members in the quake must be properly cared for.
Ø President encourages quake victims to overcome difficulties: Chinese President Hu Jintao Friday went to Beichuan County of Mianyang City to visit people affected by the southwest China earthquake, encouraging them to be confident in overcoming hardships caused by the disaster. Hu said, "We know you've suffered. The quake destroyed your house and injured members of your family. We feel your anguish. The Party, army and all the people have been mobilized to support the quake relief work. We will make every effort to rescue stranded people, treat the injured and make proper arrangements for the victims, as well as helping you to rebuild your homes." He encouraged the victims to be strong, overcome difficulty with confidence, courage and strength.
Ø President Hu went to the Beichuan Middle School, where all the teaching buildings collapsed in the quake. Knowing there were still 300 teachers and students buried in the ruins, Hu said, "Saving lives is still an urgent task. We should rescue them by every possible means as long as there is a glimmer of hope."
Ø During the flight from Beijing to Mianyang, Hu said that after several days of endeavor, the relief work has been comprehensively launched and is proceeding in a "forceful, orderly and effective" way. However, "The challenge is still severe, the task is still arduous and the time is pressing. We must make every effort, race against time and overcome all difficulties. We need to make greater efforts in treating the injured, restoring the transportation, telecommunications and power supply infrastructure in quake-stricken areas and ensure basic living conditions for local residents."
Japanese, Russian and Korean rescuers arrive in Sichuan: The first Russian rescue team of 50 search-and-rescue professionals and medical doctors arrived in Chengdu on Friday. The team left immediately for Mianzhu, one of the worst affected areas in Sichuan. (A second Russian team of 47 rescuers is expected to arrive in Chengdu on Saturday.) Also on May 16, the first 31 members of the Japanese rescue team arrived at Qingchuan county. They will soon be reinforced by the second Japanese team of 29 professional rescuers. A 47-member rescue team from Republic of Korea also arrived in Chengdu. It is heading for the city of Shifang.
China welcomes and appreciates kind offers by international community: On Fri. May 16, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Qin Gang said that the Chinese government welcomed and appreciated the offers of many countries to contribute relief materials to the earthquake-hit areas. He asked foreign governments and other official agencies intending to make donations in kind to contact the Chinese Foreign Ministry or local Chinese embassies or consulates-general. The Foreign Ministry will have immediate contact with the Ministry of Civil Affairs, which will handle matters related to donations in kind and transport the materials to the affected areas promptly. Qin Gang said on Thu. 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.
Deng Xiaoping's widow donates all her savings for earthquake relief: Zhuo Lin, 92-year old widow of China's late leader and chief designer of the Reform and Opening Drive Deng Xiaoping, has donated all her savings and money raised from family members, totaling 100,000 yuan (about 14,280 U.S. dollars), for quake relief, according to the Red Cross Society of China. Zhuo says she will spare no efforts to help the victims in the affected areas, according to the sources.
China manipulates 15 satellites for quake relief: Chinese ground controllers have initiated an emergency response program to ensure that 15 of its satellites in the space are providing proper support for the rescue and relief operations in the quake-stricken Sichuan Province in the southwest. The 15 satellites fall into nine types and are providing navigation, weather forecast and remote sourcing services, among others, said sources at the the Xi'an Satellite Measuring and Control Center, in northwestern Shaanxi Province. Though also affected by the 7.8-magnitude quake on Monday, the center immediately turned into the emergency mode and set up an expert team.Thousands of emergency applications orders were uploaded to the satellites to make sure they could provide accurate and timely data to the users, the sources said. All the Chinese satellites on orbits are operating in normal conditions, the sources said. (Xinhua)
Donations to quake-hit areas reaches 460 million U.S. dollars, 4 days after quake: By 4:00 p.m. Fri. May 16, a total of 3.175 billion Chinese yuan or 460 million U.S. dollars of donations in cash and in kind had been received (2.799 billion in cash), including 2.595 billion yuan domestic donations (2.379 billion yuan in cash) and 580 million (84 million dollars) from 19 foreign governments and 4 international organizations (420 million yuan or 60.8 million dollars in cash). 81.73 domestic; 18.27% international.
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
How to Donate to China Charity Federation
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