24 May 2008, 00:29
by Liu Lei
A tent city is growing to house people displaced by the Sichuan earthquake. (L. Liu/UNV)Mian Yang, Sichuan province, China:
Today is the first day of national mourning. The whole of China joined in a moment's silence for the people who died in the disaster seven days ago. China is mourning, people are crying, but the consolidation of the Chinese people is strengthening.
After our trip to the most severe disaster area at Mian Yang municipality and especially following our meeting with the Deputy Commander of the earthquake disaster relief team, we clearly understand the prime need for refugees is family tents. The central government has ordered all tent factories in China to run at full capacity and is transporting as many as possible to the disaster area, but it seems that those positive actions still can’t meet all the demands on the spot.
In order to donate at least 100,000 standard rescue tents to the disaster area, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has decided to try its utmost to find the number of tents immediately, so the team decided the main work for today is finding as many tent factories as possible.
The regional health delegate Madam Amgaa has a meeting with a delegate from the China Red Cross, Dr. Li, on the issues of cooperation between two sides on the implementation of emergency aid. They discussed medical aid for different times in the future - that is three months, six months and one or two years - and understand the implementation structure for future cooperation has to be set up well.
After lots of calls, we found that it is difficult to find such a big number of tents in a short time. Then the team makes a decision to ask for help from abroad and has received some good feedback.
It's great to hear that more UNV volunteers are going to contribute to the disaster areas. A UNV volunteer in Kunming working on the environment wants to help in any way he can. From 20 May, two more from Beijing will join a medical team sponsored by the Beijing Volunteer Association with 26 members on disease control. They will serve in information and logistics in Beichuan county in Mian Yang, which was destroyed completely by the earthquake. Here I’d like to send my great respect to our UNV fellows.
The Government releases emergent news that there may be a strong aftershock, and people begin to move out of their house and sleep on the street.