Bad weather, aftershocks hamper quake rescue efforts in Gansu

Days of downpours and a series of aftershocks that started from 24 July have added difficulties to rescue efforts after a 6.6-magnitude earthquake jolted the center of Minxian County in Gansu province.

A spokesman for the provincial government said at a press conference that about 2,488 armed police, firefighters and local militiamen had been dispatched to the quake-hit region to help with rescue efforts. Injured earthquake victims receive treatment at health-center of Meichuan town.Photos: Hong Mingyu & Xue Jing/

As of 6 pm on 24 July, a total of 32,250 people have been relocated, 453 rescued, and 153 injured people sent to provincial hospitals. Rescuers found another 74 people from the remainder of collapsed buildings, 58 of whom survived.

Wednesday marked the end of the first 72-hour period following the quake, a period of time considered to be crucial in rescue efforts. Du Chaoren, a staff from the Public Security Fire Department of Gansu Province, said the provincial fire department had deployed rescue teams to join in rescue efforts to finish household investigation and preventing further disasters. These teams had relocated 3,926 people, set up 966 tents and recovered 15,450 pieces of personal assets.

Villagers refuse to live in tents, continues their lives in damaged houses in Chagu Village.

What is noteworthy is that the quake caused the collapse of more than 3,042 houses and inflicted severe damage to 1,988 buildings which affected 75,992 villagers’ lives. Li Zongfeng, deputy director of Gansu Provincial Public Security Department, said provincial authorities have sent “tent police stations” to severe disaster zones like Meichuan town, Majiagou village and Yongguang village, helping with the distribution of relief supplies and assisting victims return to their daily lives.

According to reports, electric poles were uprooted in many places. The power of 17,590 households were cut, total economic losses reached RMB13,679,500. Man Guanghui, manager of Gansu province electricity company, said as of 12 am, electricity had been restored in 16,387 houses.

Heavy rain is expected in the area later in the week, raising the chance of further landslides. Mao indicated that the State Grid will upgrade the inspection and risk management of power supply facilities, to prevent any possible further disasters. At the same time, the recovery work of the power grid will become one of the most important aspects of post-disaster reconstruction plan.

Meanwhile, Du told sino-us .com that Public Security Fire Department had made sufficient preparation in case the situation gets worse. The rescue depends largely on the traffic and communication conditions of the disaster area, thus cooperation between departments is particularly important at this moment. 

(The article is translated by Li Jiayi)


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