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Help arrives for villagers hit by quake

In a mountain village shaken by last Tuesday’s earthquake, Zhang Chao hands out tents.

The 7.0-magnitude quake which struck Jiuzhaigou County in southwest China’s Sichuan Province left 24 people dead and hundreds of others injured.

Close to the epicenter was the village of Zhangzha. It has about 1,000 residents.

“We purchased a lot of tents overnight following the earthquake and transported them here on Thursday morning,” said Zhang, who works with the Amity Foundation, a Jiangsu-based non-government organization.

He joined government relief workers and other volunteers to attend to the needs of displaced villagers.

You Zhongta, 40, ran a guesthouse with 28 rooms in Zhangzha before the quake struck. It had been full every day since the summer holiday began.

Most of the local residents depend on tourism for their livelihood.

Jiuzhaigou is home to the country’s prime national park and a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its spectacular waterfalls, pristine plateau lakes and karst formations.

As accommodation is not allowed within the site, tourists typically choose to stay in nearby villages, creating business opportunities for local people.

“The quake basically damaged all houses in the village, and we had no choice but to camp outside on the mountains,” You said.

While rescue workers evacuated thousands of tourists, the residents who suffered the biggest losses were not forgotten.

The government organized an evacuation for those whose homes were damaged for fear of aftershocks.

Relief materials including tents, quilts, purified water, instant noodles, rice and sausages soon arrived.

“Electricity has not yet been restored and water is still in short supply,” Suo Langman, 35, said. “But I have confidence in the government, and I believe they will get us out of trouble very soon.”

In Zhangzha, Hu Yushu was busy cooking noodles and giving out free drinks to rescue workers and residents whose houses were damaged.

Hu’s supermarket in the village was damaged but he wanted to do something to help.


 

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