The main rescue force in Yushu is armies and
the local population. The government has organized a professional
rescue team with sixty-five members in Lhasa and should have
arrived in Yushu by the end of today. According to the army
rescue team leader in Yushu, nearly all the rescue efforts right
now are being done by hand. Consequently, it has been difficult
to rescue victims trapped under heavy debris. Machinery is needed
to rescue these people, as are medical professionals and trained
volunteers to care for the large number of wounded people.
Additionally, tents are needed because the region experiences
significant temperature swings from day to night. Several NGOs
including the Red Cross have initiated fundraising efforts for
the earthquake, but have not begun organizing volunteers
We spoke with several people in Xining including NGO leaders and government officials, and so far, there do not seem to be orders prohibiting NGOs and volunteers from participating in rescue efforts. Yushu does not have a large number of NGOs due to its location. Unlike the Wenchuan Earthquake, which was close to Sichuan’s capital city, Yushu is more than 800 kilometers from Qinghai’s capital city, Xining. Motor vehicles are the only way to reach Yushu at the moment (although many roads have been destroyed) since railways have been destroyed and the airport is currently in use only by the government. According to an NGO leader in Xining, it will take them more than 12 hours to get to Yushu.
Another factor in the rescue efforts is the
aftershocks that have continued to rock the area since this
morning. According to the New York Times, the area is located on
an active seismic zone.
Our team is very saddened by this disaster, and we will stay in contact with our partner NGOs and update you as soon as more information becomes available.
—Leo and Georgia