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Sunday, Aug 10, 2014

Asia

China quake survivor: It seems we'll be forgotten soon

The New Paper | Sunday, Aug 10, 2014

This picture taken on August 6, 2014 shows Ding Fei sitting on the debris of his four-storey hotel in Longtoushan township of Ludian county in Zhaotong.

It's been more than four days since the 6.5-magnitude earthquake struck Yunnan, China, and many families are still waiting for rescue teams to arrive.

In Yinchangpo, a town of 90 households, residents raised a pole with a flag tied at the end, hoping to attract rescue helicopters that could drop supplies, to no avail, the Yunnan Metropolis Times reported.

On a hillside, a 14-year-old boy made an "SOS" sign using pieces of stone.

Landslides or rough terrain blocked off roads, making it even more difficult for help to reach the desperate villagers.

Residents had been surviving on potatoes and pears they scrounged up from farmland, they said. Someone braved the treacherous paths and travelled to a nearby town to buy some instant noodles.

A Yinping village resident, known only as Lin, called the Beijing Morning News for help on Wednesday afternoon. He said they were in urgent need of food, tents and quilts.

Mr Lin said that one villager had been pulled from the wreckage of a house, but had died because there was no medical aid. Their earthen houses had collapsed and they had to sleep on thin cloth.

"I can't imagine what to do if it rains in the evening," he said, adding that the area was rocked by aftershocks.

Some rescue workers managed to enter Yinping by helicopter, but vehicles needed to take long detours to reach the site, stretching the journey to at least seven hours, the report said.

"It seems like we will be forgotten soon. The road is blocked, the rescue force is too weak, and the village was hit too hard by the quake," Mr Lin was quoted as saying.

Meanwhile, residents in another hamlet near Yinping resorted to begging from nearby villages and temporary shelters. But they received only cold medicine.

China raised the death toll to 615, Wall Street Journal reported.

Chinese authorities said that blocked roads and disrupted communications made it difficult to access certain areas, contributing to a slow count.

An additional 2,400 were injured, authorities said, and 229,700 had been relocated.

China called for civilian volunteers to stay away from the disaster zone as traffic blocked supply routes and "substandard" relief goods flooded into the area.

More than 18,000 professional rescuers have headed to the disaster zone, state media said, most of them military and police.

This article was published on Aug 8 in The New Paper.

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