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Press Releases & Updates

09 SEP 2012

Oxfam promptly responds to earthquake along border of Yunnan and Guizhou

An earthquake hit the border of Yunnan and Guizhou, at least 80 people were killed, 740,000 people affected. Oxfam staff arrived in worst-hit Yiliang County, Yunnan the next day for immediate assessment, and distributed the first batch of emergency supplies to the affected site.

“Oxfam Hong Kong has already transferred emergency supplies from its warehouse in Kunming, including 2,000 quilts, over 500 pieces of waterproof fabric, 1,760 mosquito nets and 1,000 sanitary kits. Our field workers can distribute them promptly to relief the immediate needs of the people after a rapid assessment,” said Howard Liu, China Programme Unit Director of Oxfam Hong Kong.

“We emphasise water and hygiene in our emergency relief work, therefore, the sanitary kits that we’ve prepared contain necessities such as towels, toothbrushes, soap, sanitary napkins, drinking water and gargle cups,” said Liu.

According to our local partner, Yunnan Disaster Reduction Centre, infrastructure in the disaster areas, such as highways, railroads, communications, irrigation and electricity has been damaged, adding difficulty to relief work.

“From our observation from previous visits, the loosened soil resulted from the recurrent drought in Yunnan in the last four years is highly susceptible to mudslides and landslides. The local weather forecast calls for rain in the next few days, which means we have to be extra cautious as we carry out our relief efforts,” said Feng Mingling, Programme Manager – Rural Development and Disaster Management of Oxfam Hong Kong.

The 5.7 magnitude earthquake hit the border of Yiliang County, Yunnan and Weining County, Guizhou at 11:19 in the morning of 7 September. As of 8 September, the death toll has reached 80; about 800 people are suffering from injuries, over 740,000 people have been affected, and more than 200,000 people have evacuated. Due to the severity of the quake, Premier Wen Jiabao has arrived in the disaster area to lead the emergency response.

Since the earthquake hit the border of the two provinces, almost 30,000 people living in Weining County, Bijie City, Guizhou have also been affected. Field workers from the Guiyang Office of Oxfam Hong Kong will soon set off to Weining County to assess the damage. 1,000 quilts from Oxfam’s emergency warehouse in Guiyang will be distributed to the affected people in Weining.

Oxfam Hong Kong has ongoing poverty alleviation and development programmes in Yunnan and Guizhou. Over the years, the agency has responded to several disasters in the region, including the floods in Guizhou in 1991, the earthquake in Lijiang in 1996 and the drought in Yunnan in 2010.