Global charity World Vision is continuing relief work in Guangyuan city, Sichuan Province, despite the 6.4 level aftershock that rocked the area on Sunday afternoon, claiming one life locally and five more in neighboring Shaanxi and Gansu provinces.
Guangyuan city was one the areas hardest hit by the May 12 8.0 level earthquake. Latest casualty figures for the city show 4,488 dead and 21,682 injured.
World Vision plans to set up hundreds of tents in the area as temporary living accommodation, temporary classrooms, as well as a number of Child Friendly Spaces where children can play, socialize and begin the process of recovery from the trauma of the quake.
A China.org.cn reporter spoke by telephone to Meimei Leung who is directing World Vision's operations in the Guangyuan City and the surrounding townships. Ms Leung and a team of child specialists from all parts of China flew to Sichuan from Beijing last week to assist the charity's eight local staff.
China.org.cn: Can you tell me where you are, and how you are, following the aftershock.
Meimei Leung: We are getting quite stressed out here. I'm in Guangyuan. We are working in various locations in Guangyuan County. We have a team working in Qingchuan today and a team in Yuanba which also comes under Guangyuan City. Yesterday I visited a place called Jiange, which is also part of Guangyuan.
Today we are working with the local government to try to open another assessment point, so hopefully we will be going to some new areas tomorrow or the day after.
China.org.cn: Are all World Vision's people OK?
Meimei Leung: Yesterday after the big shock, we checked on everyone and they are all still safe and sound. One or two cars were stuck because roads were blocked by landslides, and they had to stay in the townships until the roads were cleared. But we understand that everyone is safe and sound.
China.org.cn: Are your relief supplies getting through?
Meimei Leung: We are trying to speed up the whole supply chain so that the tents arrive quickly. Yesterday some shelter materials arrived and we have more tents arriving on 27 May. So the World Vision distribution effort is on its way.
In fact our team in Yuanba is scheduled to set up 50 residential tents today. Another 50 will arrive tomorrow, together with 100 student tents. So, in all, this week we plan to set up 100 residential tents for earthquake victims, and 100 temporary classroom tents for students.
China.org.cn: What about your plan for Child Friendly Spaces?
Meimei Leung: We've done a lot of assessments over the past few days. We arrived on Friday and for the past three days we have been doing assessments on the needs of the children. Our staff have been going into our shelter tents talking to the children, playing with them, assessing their needs. We are very hopeful we will be able to set up at least one Child Friendly Space this week.
(China.org.cn by John Sexton, May 26, 2008)