Relief to Tibet arriving despite landslides, snow

2015-04-28 05:48:12 GMT2015-04-28 13:48:12(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English
A navvy of armed traffic police repairs a snowslide affected road to quake-hit Jilung County in Xigaze City, southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, April 27, 2015. (Xinhua/Chen Tianhu)A navvy of armed traffic police repairs a snowslide affected road to quake-hit Jilung County in Xigaze City, southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, April 27, 2015. (Xinhua/Chen Tianhu)

As aid and support from China begins to reach Nepal after Saturday's earthquake, domestic relief and rescue efforts are also intensifying in southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region.

The death toll from the quake rose to 25 with 117 injured in Tibet, authorities said late Monday. More than 20,000 were displaced in the high-altitude region, and relief efforts have been thwarted by bad weather.


Nyalam and Gyirong counties of Xigaze City were the worst affected in Tibet, with highways blocked by multiple landslides.

A 37-km highway linking Nyalam County with Zham on the Nepal border was blocked in 13 places. Rescuers on Monday said that they had cleared a 10-km stretch of the road winding through high mountains.

"Aftershocks are our main concern at the moment; there is nowhere to hide," said Gyanga Tseten, detachment head of the Xigaze fire brigade.

Eighty percent of houses in Zham are seriously damaged and 3,500 people have been relocated, said Li Dong, deputy secretary of the Nyalam county committee of the Communist Party of China.

"There is only enough food in Zham for about three days," said Li, adding that there was a high likelihood of more landslides.

"Zham urgently needs tents, drinking water, food and medicine," said rescue worker Cpt. Xu Rongfeng.

In Gyirong, the main artery that links Gyirong Town with Gyirong landport was impassable, blocked by debris from more than 20 landslides. Military helicopters dropped relief goods to Gyirong and Nyalam on Monday afternoon.

A barrier lake, estimated to be 800 meters long and holding 280,000 cubic meters of water, formed 3 km from Gyirong port after a landslide blocked a river on Sunday. The water level had fallen by about 1 meter on Monday.

"It poses no serious danger any more as the inflow and outflow almost match," said Gong Tongliang, deputy head of the regional water department.

Snow is hampering rescue efforts, with 10 centimeters falling on some roads.

More than 95 percent of houses in the worst-hit village in Rongxar Town, Tingri County, have collapsed, according to Shen Yong, who heads one of the army teams distributing tents, quilts and bottled water to residents.

The regional civil affairs department on Monday confirmed that 1,263 houses and one monastery had been destroyed. More than 10,000 houses and 54 monasteries have been damaged. Over 24,800 people have taken refuge in Xigaze.


More than 2,000 soldiers have been mobilized to help the disaster relief. Nine military helicopters from Chengdu Military Area Command base and Tibet's Nyingchi base arrived in Xigaze on Monday.

An armed police squad was sent from Lanzhou, capital of northwest China's Gansu Province. The team is experienced in repairing roads.

The Ministry of Civil Affairs has allocated 20,000 tents, 30,000 coats, 30,000 comforters, 15,000 cots and 15,000 sleeping bags to the affected areas. The regional government has also sent tents, coats, food, medicine and drinking water.

The earthquake, which has affected other countries in the region, including India and Bangladesh, has killed over 3,700 people and injured countless more in Nepal, according to the country's Home Affairs Ministry.

China pledged 20 million yuan (about 3.4 million U.S. dollars) in emergency aid to Nepal, and the Tibet regional government promised 6 million yuan in material aid on Sunday.

A Chinese rescue team arrived in Kathmandu on Sunday, the first international urban search and rescue team to arrive. They pulled a 16-year-old boy from the debris of a collapsed building on Sunday evening.

Chinese medical and military personnel left for Nepal on Monday to assist the rescue operations.

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