Second Relief Operation in Sichuan

Volunteers of the Green Field Foundation went to the Sichuan afflicted areas from 1-7 November for the second relief operation and study of building school and community library. Due to a serious traffic accident, 2 volunteers from Hong Kong were seriously injured and their trip was suspended. The relief operation was solely executed by volunteers from the Mainland. Below is a report from Xiao Ke, our volunteer in China regarding the operation.

Words from Xiao Ke

Coming home last night, I still felt dizzy and tired. However, I would like to say something about this experience.

During this trip, we had only been to Youxian district, An County and Beichuan in Mianyang City, of which, An County and Beichuan were the most seriously affected. This is the rainy season in Sichuan and it had been raining constantly in Mianyang. Our sleeping area and bedclothes were all damp. I cannot imagine what it must be like for those victims living in temporary houses and tents.

From Mianyang to Beichuan, the roads were getting rougher as we went deeper into the mountain. We saw tents scattered along the road. The effect of earthquake could still be felt after 6 months. Houses are yet to be rebuilt due to the persistent aftershocks, continuous rain, and lack of construction materials and workers. We did not expect the houses could be built by this winter, and the authorities are urgently building temporary shelters for the victims before the worst of the winter weather. The night we reached Mianyang, heavy snow fell over the affected area in the mountainous Beichuan. My friend, who distributed materials in Pingwu, said it was very difficult to go through the road due to the snow. Then, what about the victims in the mountain?

With materials being sent in continuously in the last few months, many people may think that provisions are now adequate for the victims. This is the case for areas with good accessibility, but according to the person-in-charge in Beichuan and volunteers in Mianyang, life is still difficult in the remote areas. Beichuan is divided into an outer area and an inner area. There are 12 towns in the inner area, at the west of the barrier lake. Only 2 roads lead to the area. The first one is from Qingchuan through a meandering path of over 600 km. The second one is from Beichuan, but it cannot be passed through now due to the mud-rock slide on 24 September and the ruins of Beichuan county town. For now, the easiest way is by walking over the mountain for a few hours, then sail across the barrier lake to get there. Sending aid into the area seems almost impossible.

Nevertheless, we are determined to persevere in order to deliver aid to where the victims need it most. In the mean time, we put our faith in local officials who are working hard to think of ways to send the material to the inner area.

The purpose of our trip is to look for suitable location to set up libraries and recreational facilities for temporary schools and communities. When we brought out the topic with officials from the Education Bureaus in Beichuan, they told us that temporary houses for schools are very tight in the inner area, library and recreation facilities were their concern for now. I think they have bigger problems providing basic facilities for the schools which they did not want to bother us. We really want to go to the inner area, but we can’t!

Let’s contribute the best we can to help the victims and be together with them through the winter months.

My dear friends, let’s keep up our efforts!

Xiao Ke
9 November, at night

1-7.11.2008 Second Relief Operation in Sichuan

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