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Home / China / Rescue work underway after Gansu earthquake

Rescuers brave chill, race against time to save lives

By MA JINGNA in Linxia, Gansu and CHEN MEILING | China Daily | Updated: 2023-12-19 23:26
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Volunteers prepare beef noodle soup on Tuesday at a makeshift camp for quake-affected people in Jishishan county. [Photo by Ma Xiping / Xinhua]

Efforts: Six medical teams at hospital treating injured

A bowl of piping hot beef noodles and a cup of drinking water at a relief camp on Tuesday offered Ma Mengke the warmth and comfort he desperately needed after a magnitude 6.2 earthquake jolted him and his family members out of sleep around midnight on Monday in Northwest China's Gansu province, and left them without a home overnight.

"My family is safe here. We have blankets and stoves to stay warm and boil water. The members of the rescue team care for our needs," said Ma, 27, at the relocation site in Jishishan county, the epicenter of the quake in Gansu's Linxia Hui autonomous prefecture.

The makeshift camp, located at the town square, has 102 tents, each of which can accommodate eight to nine people. Ma and 1,000 other residents of the county, whose houses were damaged or destroyed in the quake, spent the night in the tents.

They received meal boxes provided by local authorities and beef noodles cooked by volunteers from a private company.

Ma Qinglong, chairman of Xingda Group, the private company, said, "We prepared 500 kilograms of beef today (Tuesday) to help everyone get through the difficult time."

Meanwhile, rescue teams braved the winter chill to continue their search for survivors. The substantial difference between day and night temperatures in Jishishan made the search and rescue operation more challenging.

Wang Duo, a team leader from the Gansu Houtian Disaster Rescue Center, said the minimum temperature is around -10 C, and those trapped under the rubble of collapsed buildings are at great risk.

Liu Xuefeng, deputy head of Gansu's Forest Firefighting Department, said his 200-member team was among the first responders. The team arrived in Jishishan county as early as 2 am on Tuesday.

Liu said that residents grabbed whatever warm clothes or heating equipment they could and ran out of their homes when the quake hit. Many houses were badly damaged, he added.

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