As of 3:00pm on 21 April, the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that struck Ya’an, Sichuan has left 186 people dead, 21 missing and 11,393 injured, 968 of them seriously. At 2:00am on 21 April, a team of four from Oxfam’s Chengdu Office set off to the worst-hit area in Lushan County. After assessment, Oxfam has decided to distribute emergency relief supplies in Longmenxiang, a village suffering severe damage from the quake. At 7:40pm on 21 April, the first batch of supplies arrived in the town of Lushan.
Zhai Fan, Manager of Oxfam’s Chengdu Office, said that after the team arrived in Lushan, they carried out assessment in nearby Qingrenxiang and Longmenxiang and determined that the damage in Longmenxiang was more serious. Initial figures indicate that there are 30 people dead in Longmenxiang alone. Considering the level of damage as well as quantity of supplies available, Oxfam has decided to respond to the survivors in Longmenxiang.
The first batch of supplies arriving Lushan includes 2,180 quilts, 57 tents, 500 sanitary kits and 108 sets of cooking utensils, with a total worth of over 300,000 yuan ($58,000). “We will work with local poverty alleviation officials since they can help us stay informed with the latest development. Tomorrow (22 April) morning, we will bring our supplies to Longmenxiang. With the company of local officials and village representatives, we will first gain an understanding of the situation and needs of every household, and then we will brief the villagers on the usage of these supplies. Upon their consent, we will distribute the materials accordingly,” said Zhai.
“To ensure that the supplies go to where they are needed, not only do we discuss with village representatives beforehand and come up with a distribution plan, we also record in detail the types and quantity of supplies that each person has received. Each person is also required to sign when they receive the materials. Details about our supplies distribution – quantity, types and means – will be posted in a public area in the village so as to ensure transparency of information,” said Zhai.
Today (21 April) in the afternoon, staff from Oxfam’s Kunming Office head off to the emergency warehouse in Kunming to examine relief supplies, which include 185 rolls of waterproof fabric, 2,000 quilts, 1,000 sanitary kits and 2,000 mosquito nets, with a total worth of over 360,000 yuan. They will be transported to the quake-stricken area tomorrow (22 April).
Feng Ming-ling, Manager of Oxfam’s Kunming Office said that waterproof fabric is a practical material for earthquake survivors because they can be manipulated into different forms of shelter according to people’s needs. “Post-quake survivors are under a lot of mental stress – they have lost their homes, and their lives have turned upside down. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that we help them restore their daily lives and their confidence in rebuilding their homes as soon as possible. There are enough materials inside our sanitary kits for a family of four. We hope by meeting their basic needs, we can help them resume a normal life soon,” said Feng. Each sanitary kit consists of materials catered for women, such as sanitary napkins. Oxfam’s humanitarian works focuses on assisting women and other marginalised groups; their needs are always prioritized.
Oxfam’s Kunming Office is collecting feedback from frontline field workers as well as information, such as types of relief supplies distributed, from government officials and other aid agencies. Oxfam will use all this information as reference when purchasing the next batch of materials after a quotation process. As supplies arrive in the quake-stricken area, Oxfam’s frontline workers will also carry out assessment in nearby townships and respond to those in great need.
In response to the needs of the survivors, the fundraising target of Oxfam’s emergency appeal for the Sichuan Ya’an earthquake has been increased to HK$3 million (approximately $387,000).
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