|Press Release 2008/05/18 - 3 National Mourning Days announced; Quake death toll 32477; Magnitude revised to 8.0; Condolence books open|
|[Released in New York at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, 18 May 2008]|
For Immediate Release
China announces 3-day mourning for quake victims
3-day National Mourning for quake victims
China announced the three days starting Monday as national mourning days for the victims who died in a massive earthquake that struck southwest China's Sichuan Province on May 12. Flags are to be kept at half-mast and all public amusements will be suspended for three days from Monday as China begins an official mourning period for victims of the May 12 earthquake. The State Council, the Cabinet, on Sunday ordered a nationwide display of respect for the dead. The Olympic torch relay will also be suspended from Monday to Wednesday till May 22, the Olympic organizing committee said. China's diplomatic missions abroad were also ordered to observe the order, and condolence books are to be opened in the Foreign Ministry and Chinese embassies and consulates around the world. The public are asked to stand in silence for three minutes from 2:28 p.m. on Monday, while automobiles, trains, and ships would sound their air sirens.
No foreign tourists have been reported killed during the deadly earthquake, according to the Deputy Director General of China National Tourism Administration (CNTA).
Donations to China quake areas exceed 1.3 billion U.S. dollars: Domestic and overseas donations to China's quake-hit areas totaled 8.945 billion yuan or1.3 billion U.S. dollars as of Sunday noon (within 6 days of earthquake), according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs. Out of the figure, 7.542 billion yuan was donated in cash, and donated materials were worth 1.403 billion yuan, the ministry said in a statement. The ministry received 129 million yuan; the Red Cross Society of China got money and materials worth 1.831 billion yuan, the China Charity Federation had 600 million yuan, it said. Local governments, enterprises and various organizations donated 5.19 billion yuan to the quake-hit areas. Donations from Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan and foreign countries totaled 1.199 billion yuan, the statement said.
The first Chinese military rescue team headed for the disaster area within 14 minutes after the strong earthquake hit the southwest Sichuan Province, said Hu Changming, spokesman for the National Defense Ministry on Sunday at a press conference. Hu said the servicemen made all efforts to rescue victims, rebuild damaged roads, and transport relief goods. Chinese military established different rescue zones. The servicemen were also well-equipped with satellite, life detection equipment and radar to increase the efficiency of the operation.
Friday, 16 May 2008
On Friday, May 16, rescuers evacuated 2,538 people from the rubble (including 165 survivors), medically treated 2,719 injured people, transferred 10,351 to safer places, transported 982 tons of relief material, and rebuilt 203km roads. By 8:00 p.m. Friday, over 34,000 medical personnel had been involved in emergency, response, disaster relief and epidemic prevention; over 116,460 people had been hospitalized, including 15,858 severely injured people.
As of Saturday morning, tap water supply had been restored in 70% of the towns affected by the quake, and 1.4 million people still suffer from water shortage. Radio and TV broadcast has been restored in at least 5 provinces affected by the earthquake: Gansu, Shaanxi, Ningxia, Yunnan and Chongqing.
Saturday, 17 May 2008
Donations to quake-hit areas reaches 872 million U.S. dollars, 5 days after quake (412 million or 89.5% increase in less than 24 hours): By 1:00 p.m. Sat. May 17, a total of 6.023 billion Chinese yuan or 872 million U.S. dollars of donations in cash and in kind had been received (5.183 billion in cash), including 4.905 billion yuan domestic donations from Chinese mainland (41.85 billion yuan in cash), 5.8 million yuan from Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao.
Premier Wen announced on Saturday that in the next 3 months, 500-gram daily grain ration and 10-yuan daily allowance would be provided to each and every person in need in quake-affected regions. The government has decided to give 5,000 yuan ($715) in temporary compensation to each family having lost a member in the earthquake.
As of 1:00 p.m. Saturday, May 17, the Ministry of Civil Affairs had made available to the quake-hit regions 181,460 tents, 220,000 quilts and 170,000 warm coats.
Thousands of victims transferred before dam burst: At 3:40 pm on May 17, thousands of victims and rescue workers in Beichuan County of Sichuan Province were evacuated before a dam burst, according to China Youth Daily. Because of landslide caused by the great hit, the upper reaches of Beichuan County dam have formed several barrier lakes. On the afternoon of May 17, the rescue team received an emergent evacuation order. Cracks of dam in the peak of Beichuan mountain were found, which was threatening to the people living in the County. Nearly 10,000 victims and rescue workers were transferred to safe places immediately.
Sunday, 18 May 2008
Donations to quake-hit areas reaches 1.3 billion U.S. dollars, 6 days after quake: By Sunday noon May 18, a total of 8.945 billion Chinese yuan or 1.3 billion U.S. dollars of donations in cash and in kind had been received (84% in cash).
Public security teams rescued 5,796 people buried: As of 4:00 p.m. Sunday, public security teams have rescued 5,796 people buried, rescued 3,759 trapped, found 639 victims and transferred 47,152 people in Sichuan earthquake areas.
National and provincial earthquake emergency relief teams pulled 254 people from rubble: As of 8:00 a.m. Sunday, China's national earthquake emergency relief team had rescued 46 people, and provincial teams had rescued 208.
Magnitude of SW China earthquake revised to 8.0: The China Seismological Bureau (CSB) Sunday revised the magnitude of southwest China earthquake from 7.8 to 8.0 on the Richter scale. A magnitude-8 quake has the equivalent energy of 790 nuclear bombs, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
By 2:00 p.m. Sunday, 18 May 2008, the death toll from the powerful earthquake had risen to 32,477 nationwide, while the number of injured had reached 220,109, according to the Emergency Response Office of the State Council. A total of 15.61 million houses in quake areas were damaged nationwide, with 3.13 million collapsed.
No epidemic, public health incidents in quake zone: A total of 5,530 medical staff together with 550 ambulances were dispatched by the health ministry, and have reached all affected townships in the quake zone to offer medical treatment. The ministry also sent 646 doctors and assistants to quake areas for prevention of plague. A total of 350 tons of plague prevention goods are currently en route to the quake zone.
9 working teams set up in quake zone. General headquarters of quake relief under the State Council announced Sunday that 9 working teams in the quake zone had been set up. The 9 working teams are responsible for disaster rescue and relief, quake victims arrangement, quake inspection, epidemic prevention, news publication, production restoration and quake zone reconstruction, water conservancy, social stability respectively.
Disaster-relief supplies from the United States Army arrived Sunday in Chengdu, capital of China's quake-hit Sichuan Province. The supplies, the first of its kind from a foreign military, including food, tents, power generators and blankets, were badly needed in the quake-hit area, and would greatly facilitate China's rescue operations, said Guan Youfei, Deputy Director of the foreign affairs office of China's National Defense Ministry, expressing his gratitude to the U.S. emergent humanitarian aid. The supplies were already distributed to Beichuan County, one of the worst-hit counties in the 8.0-magnitude quake.