24 May 2008, 00:14
by Liu Lei
Living conditions for survivors of the Sichuan earthquake are poor, and looking after their health is becoming a priority for volunteers. (L. Liu/UNV)Mian Yang, Sichuan province, China:
08:30 - Having found out that the IFRC has arrived in Chengdu, I quickly track them down and join in. Gaining some basic information about their missions and background, after a brief discussion with the team, I undertake my first task: collecting some further information about the location, population, number of victims, the epicentre of the disaster area, as well as the latest information and photos of the activities of the Red Cross team.
In order to find out what personal items refugees from disaster area may badly need, together with RHD Amgaa I visit Carrefour supermarket to make a list. With a clear price list of local goods, the organization can quickly find out what it could buy and send to the disaster area.
We check different categories such as instant noodles, bottled water, canned meat, canned fish, sausages, biscuits, tooth paste and brushes, soap, toilet paper, washing powder, towels and so on - whatever we can think of for the emergent needs of the refugees. Meanwhile, we also check the size of the goods' packaging and weight in order to guarantee that our trucks will not be overloaded.
Everything we do is focused on logistical support to the disaster area. We hope that with our efforts that we can alleviate some of the suffering of the refugees.
After many days of emergency rescue efforts, we find that there are several NGOs operating in different areas. In order to prevent duplication of work and to share the latest information, we organize a meeting with the participants of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Action Aid, Medicins sans Frontiers, the Hong Kong Red Cross and UNV. Through this meeting, the NGOs share their experience and information and arrive at a consensus on preventing duplication of work.