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Quake victims in desperate need of aid
( 2003-10-28 06:20) (China Daily)

Two earthquakes, which struck two counties in Northwest China's Gansu Province on Saturday, forced people to take shelter in wheat stacks and makeshift shelters overnight and in desperate need of tents and food, a local official supervising the relief operation said Monday.

Villagers in the quake-hit Gansu Province take the relief materials Monday, October 27, 2003. [newsphoto.com.cn]

The two quakes which registered 5.8 and 6.1 on the Richter scale, rumbled through Minle and Shandan counties in Zhangye Prefecture in Gansu.

More than 10 buses as well as all the 20 cars belonging to the Minle local government were sent to Yaozaizi village in the county, the epicentre of the quakes, with relief provisions for the local people to protect them from the cold, as the temperature can drop to minus eight C at night at this time of year there.

A total of 2,000 cotton tents as well as 3,200 items of clothing, and 200 packages of instant noodles have reached hardest-hit Minle County, said Zhou Minxia, a publicity official from Minle County.

The central government has earmarked 7 million yuan (US$846,400) for initial relief work.

The Red Cross Society of China has dispatched relief materials worth 300,000 yuan (US$36,000) to the disaster-stuck area, including food, clothing and cotton quilts.

Ma Wanqi, vice-chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, Monday donated HK$100,000 (US$12,900) to help the people caught in the disaster, according to Xinhua.

A report from the Gansu provincial civil affairs bureau said ten people were confirmed dead and a total of 43 were injured, six of them seriously.

Statistics from the Zhangye local government show that the two quakes caused economic losses in the neighbourhood of 327 million yuan (US$40 million), killing 16,000 head of livestock and leveling 10,000 homes and damaging 45,000 more.

As well, 5,800 acres of farm land were affected, but the quakes caused no serious damage to crops, as most crops in this mountainous area, such as potatoes and wheat, were harvested earlier in the month.

The water level of the two reservoirs in the counties, which show cracks in a number of places as a result of the quakes,has been reduced to safe levels by draining off water for two days, said Tuo Xingfu, head of Minle County yesterday.

He added that another reservoir in Nangu Township of Minle County was also damaged by the quakes. The reservoir's gate valve was distorted and it is suspected that the entire reservoir has suffered serious damage.

The Minle county government has reported diseases caused by the cold weather and a pregnant woman in Yaozaizi Village experienced a difficult delivery last night after being rushed to the county hospital.

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