Dispatches from Philip He, AsiaTravel Guide in Sichuan (May 17)

<From Philip on May 17th>

Today we didn’t go to the disaster-hit areas as we usually did. We took part in a press conference. I got some information released by the official channel.

There are also some touching stories by Melissa and Andrea at http://www.npr.org/blogs/chengdu/2008/05/we_found_fu_guanyu_and.html#more

  1. Number of rescue team from military: 140,000 (PLA and armed forces), 71 high-ranking officer (general).
  2. President Hu Jintao paid a visit to Wenchuan this afternoon (which is the hard-hit area and also the epicenter of the earthquake)
  3. Aftershocks: by May 16th, there were 5210 aftershocks altogether, but it is shrinking
  4. Deaths and rescued, by May 17, more than 28300 people dead, among them 10290+ in Deyang, 9640+ in Mianyang, 4130+ in Chengdu, 2140+ in Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, and 2060+ in Guangyuan. 33,430 have been rescued from debris so far.
  5. Transportation:The frequent aftershocks brought new damages to roads, electric lines and communication lines. New every efforts are being made to restore them.
    • About the roads: The road from Dujiangyan to Yingxiu will be opened (blocked again by landslides from aftershock.)  The road from Li Xian to Wenchuan is already made accessible.
    • The road from Rilong to Wolong now is basically made accessible.
    • The road from Lixian to Maoxian has been made accessible except last 10 km from Maoxian County Town.
    • The road from Maoxian to Wenchuan still has 27km not accessible.
    • Of the 4 roads leading to the townships from Pingwu County Town, only one is accessible(from Pingwu To Doukou Township).
    • Of the 4 roads leading from Mianzhu County Town to townships, all inaccessible. The road from Pengzhou to Yinchanggouis in accessible is inaccessible.
  6. Telecommunications: Basically restored in Chengdu. Telecommunications service are available for working and emergency in Heishui, Maoxian, Wenchuan,and Pingwu. Of the 161 earthquake-hit towns and townships, in 92 telecommunications service are not restored.
  7. Tourism: They are 7543 tourists stranded in the earthquake areas. They are safe. Of the 2264 overseas tourists, 1140 have transferred to a safe location or returned home while the rest are under evacuation.
  8. Disaster- relief materials: Large amount of disaster-relief materials are being transported to hard-hit areas. 260 tents are ungently needed for temporary lodging, schooling, sick people and accommodation for rescue workers.
  9. Water quality: Experts have been monitoring water all-hour round. Information from 52 water resources shows that water quality fit with the national standard. There is no big difference in the quality before and after the earthquake. Disease prevention work has been launched all around. There is no spread of endemic disease and public health emergencies.
  10. Foreign rescue team: Six countries or regions have sent rescue teams to China to take part in the rescue activities. They from Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Singapore, and Russia.
  11. Support: News media have give timely reports on the situation of disaster-hit areas. Lots of ordinary people volunteered in disaster-relieving activities. For example, some farmers in Guanhan sent their fruits and vegetables to the disaster-hit areas. Local people in Jiajin Mountain are cooking hot water for rescue workers. Individuals drove their cars to transport donations or disaster-relief materials and transferred injured people to safe areas. However, large number of volunteer vehicles have caused some traffic jams were caused due to coming of. Thus individuals are suggested to send their donations to special donation-taking places set up by the province or cities so that rescue activities can be carried out more smoothly.

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