A 5.7 magnitude earthquake rocked 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 on Sunday, 9 September.
“We decided to concentrate our relief work in three villages, Dazhai, Huqiu and Lingdong because they were badly hit by the quake. Many villagers live in the mountains, making them even more vulnerable because of the lack of access to resources and supplies. Oxfam Hong Kong is most concerned about these people in our humanitarian response,” said Feng Mingling, Programme Manager of Oxfam Hong Kong, who supervises the on-site distribution of relief materials.
Oxfam Hong Kong has finished distributing the first batch of supplies, including 2,000 quilts, 528 pieces of canvas cloth (for setting up temporary tents), 1,760 mosquito nets and 1,000 sanitary kits.
“We emphasise water and hygiene in our emergency relief work, therefore, the sanitary kits we distribute contain necessities such as towels, toothbrushes, soap, sanitary napkins, drinking water and gargle cups,” said Howard Liu, China Programme Unit Director of Oxfam Hong Kong.
The worst hit area, Luozehe Township, is located in central Chaotong City, southwest of Yiliang County, on the mountains of the river banks of Luozehe. Affected by the quake, the rolling rocks on the mountains might roll downhill anytime, blocking roads and delaying the delivery of supplies.
“It was raining the night before, and residents had a hard time finding shelter. Villagers told me that some of them had to hold a piece of waterproof advertisement poster above their heads throughout the night,” said Feng. “In the next phase, apart from food and shelter, aid agencies also need to address the problem of public hygiene, such as disposal of manure and waste. All this requires thorough consideration and planning.”
The earthquake striking the border of Yiliang County, Yunnan and Weining County, Guizhou at 11:19 in the morning of 7 September has caused at least 80 lives; more than 800 people are suffering from injuries, over 740,000 people have been affected, and over 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 have arrived in Weining County to assess the damage. 1,000 quilts from Oxfam’s emergency warehouse in Guiyang are being distributed to the affected people in Weining.
Oxfam Hong Kong has ongoing poverty alleviation and development programmes in the impoverished areas 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, the floods in Yunnan and Guizhou in 2006 and the drought in Yunnan in 2010.
Oxfam is dedicated to fighting poverty and inequity worldwide. The international and independent development and humanitarian organisation tackles poverty in four main ways: sustainable development in poor communities, disaster relief, local and global advocacy, and education with Hong Kong youth. Established in Hong Kong in1976, Oxfam Hong Kong is a founding member of Oxfam, an international confederation that has assisted poor people in 92 countries. Oxfam Hong Kong alone has supported poor people in over 70 countries/regions.
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