Earthquake Diary: 27 May
02 June 2008, 20:51
by Liu Lei
Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China: As the IFRC team in Sichuan gets stronger, more volunteer interpreters are needed. Just over these last three days, people from ten different fields have joined the team. I was originally put in the position of Operations Support as a volunteer interpreter, but now we have a bigger team with seven foreigners, which means at least four more volunteers need to be found to give interpretation support. I found them through my connections and now I have to play a coordination role between them and IFRC staff.
According to the plan, our team is divided into three groups to operate different things. Then I am picked up again to go with the water sanitation group to give a basic assessment in Dujiangyan City which was seriously damaged by the quake.
But during this emergency, things change so quickly. When I arrive at the IFRC office in the early morning, the logistics coordinator needs to quickly check all of the Sichuan Red Cross's goods transportation systems because he has to find the confirmation note and urgently give feedback to donors. And there are two batches of tents, about 1,200, from Germany and Sweden on the way, but the local Red Cross seems hasn’t been informed in time. So worries from IFRC arise due to the coming 100,000 tents in the near future.
In order to address this problem I must quickly help the IFRC logistics coordinator to understand the pipeline for cargo, find some problems it may have and give some suggestions on efficiency. Otherwise, the donors will be dissatisfied with the logistics work.
So in the morning the logistics team has a meeting and the overall map of processes is now more clearly understood by IFRC logistics coordinator. And then we find some problems with it and give some suggestions which can quickly be adopted by the Sichuan Red Cross.
In the afternoon, we together with logistics staff from the Sichuan Red Cross visit Chengdu Airport logistics team which was set up by Red Cross after the earthquake. We check all procedures of logistics issues in the airport including customs clearance, cargo offloading, transportation, waybills and receipt notes, etc. Even then there are some shortcomings in the process but it can be worked out well. Gradually it will be perfected under the guidance of the IFRC logistics specialist.
During the afternoon, an aftershock of 5.7 magnitude hit, which was clearly felt in Chengdu.