THE international children's
charity World Vision has sent an emergency task force to north-west
Gansu province, in China, after two powerful earthquakes struck on
Officials in the province
said that the shocks, which were less than 90 minutes apart, have
killed at least 94, injured more than 1000, and have destroyed
thousands of homes.
The World Vision team will
take 400 tarpaulin rolls for makeshift shelters, and 2000 hygiene
kits, containing towels, soap, toothbrushes, and toothpaste. They
will also provide 2000 child-friendly packs containing toys,
stationery, and simple hygiene items. The team includes a
psychology expert who will evaluate survivors' needs, and help
affected children to feel safe again.
The manager of the charity's
Wushan office, in Gansu, Wai Kim Lee, said that he felt the stairs
shaking as he left his house for work. "People rushed into the
street to find out what was happening," he said.
Working with colleagues in
Hong Kong, he is sourcing the tarpaulins in the provincial capital
of Lanzhou, while the rest of the aid will come from a forward
warehouse in Tianjin.
The national director of
World Vision China, Victor Kan, said: "By distributing these kits
to children in targeted disaster-affected communities, we hope to
help the children re-establish a sense of normality, and ensure
that they enjoy good psychosocial health."
Gansu, which is about 750
miles west of Beijing, is one of the more lightly populated areas
of China, and includes mountains, desert, and pastureland.
Earthquakes, however, hit Min County, on the southern edge of the
city of Dingxi, which has a population of about 2.7 million. The
government news agency Xinhua reported that more than 51,000 houses
had collapsed, 240,000 had been severely damaged, and more than
226,000 people had been forced out of their homes. Power lines and
mobile-phone communications had been cut.
The Chinese army deployed
3900 soldiers, and the Ministry of Civil Affairs allocated 10,000
tents, 30,000 quilts, 5000 foldable beds, and 10,000 sleeping bags
to affected areas. The Red Cross Society of China sent relief
supplies, including jackets and tents, but landslides have made it
harder to reach some areas, and rain threatens further
The Chinese government's earthquake-monitoring centre said that
the initial tremor was a magnitude of 6.6, and subsequent tremors
included a 5.6 magnitude. There were more than 400 aftershocks. The
Dingxi government said on its microblog that the earthquake has
caused a direct economic loss of £21 million.