|Press Release of Chinese Embassy in the United States (04/17/2010)|
The Chinese Government launched all-round rescue effort in Yushu
On April 14, a powerful earthquake of 7.1 magnitude stuck the Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Yushu in Qinghai Province, causing severe casualties and property losses. As of 5 p.m. on April 17 Beijing time, the death toll had risen to 1,484, with 312 still missing and 12,088 injured, among which 1,394 were in critical condition. The quake had left 15,000 houses flattened and 100,000 people to be relocated.
Following the earthquake, President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao immediately gave important instructions. They called for all-out efforts to save lives and asked authorities to step up earthquake monitoring , forecast and precautions, provide assistance to the affected people and maintain social stability in the region.
The State Council promptly initiated the first-degree national disaster response mechanism and set up a quake-relief headquarter. To deal with the devastating earthquake, President Hu Jintao postponed his planned visits to Venezuela and Chile and returned to China on April 17. On the same day, he convened a meeting of all members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau to outline a comprehensive disaster relief plan. Premier Wen had delayed visits to Brunei, Indonesia and Myanmar and flew in to Yushu on April 15 to comfort the affected people and oversee the rescue efforts.
Over the past few days, the Chinese Government has been mobilizing all resources and channeling rescue personnel and supplies to the quake-hit region. Over 20,000 people are now involving in rescue efforts in Yushu, including local officials and communities, PLA soldiers and armed police, public security police, fire fighters and specialized rescue teams. People across the country and in all sectors have been offering help to the region. So far, relief efforts in all aspects are proceeding smoothly, including the rescue work, medical services, relocation of affected people, infrastructure reparation, relief supplies and information release. In general, the rescue and relief efforts are timely, strong and effective and have played an important role in minimizing losses, resettling the local people and maintaining social stability.
A press center has been set up in Yushu to facilitate the work of Chinese and foreign reporters in covering the quake and rescue efforts. Up to now, there are more than 300 reporters, among that some 70 foreign reporters, working on the ground.
The high altitude, rugged terrain as well as the cold and volatile weather have made rescue efforts more difficult. Many rescuers are suffering from altitude sickness. The altitude sickness even affected the sniffer dogs, making them less efficient in the search for survivors. Some rescuers had fallen seriously ill and had to be flown out for medical treatment. Given the current circumstances, it is very difficult for other rescuers to access the region and conduct rescue efforts efficiently even when they reach there. Therefore, the most efficient way to provide assistance to the disaster-hit region is in the form of donations. This will help with the reconstruction of the region and restore production activities and normal life of the local community.
Since the earthquake struck Qinghai Province, condolences have poured in from the United States. Leaders of the US administration and Congress as well as American people in all sectors have extended sympathies and condolences to the Chinese people, especially those affected by the quake. They also pledged full support for the rescue and reconstruction efforts. The Chinese community and Chinese students in the United States have made general donations to their fellow countrymen in China who are suffering from the disaster. The Chinese Government and people appreciate all these efforts. We are confident that backed by the Chinese Government and people and with the strong support of the international community, people in the affected region will overcome the disaster and rebuild their homes.