Yaan earthquake

Victims of quake in Yaan, Sichuan, complain about lack of relief aid

Quake victims complain about lack of relief aid as they battle to find food and water for families

PUBLISHED : Monday, 22 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 22 April, 2013, 7:53am

Authorities in quake-hit Yaan city expect most relief materials to reach local people today, amid complaints of not enough government-provided aid.

"How are we going to live like this, you tell me," said Wang Chen, referring to food cooked with unclean ditch water. The 22-year-old said he hadn't received water in two days.

Luo Bingchang, from Hexin village under Longmen township, went to the township centre to demand food, but was turned away. "For the past two days all we received were three bottles of water," Luo said. "We have children, the elderly and pregnant women."

Yaan vice-mayor Liao Lei said some residents had not received relief aid because of massive road congestion, which was expected to ease by today.

In Lushan county, one of the worst-hit areas in Yaan, residents turned to each other to help cope with the disaster. People living near Mingde Primary School moved their tables and chairs to the school's playground and stayed there for the night, as they didn't have tents.

"We were very disappointed that we weren't given a tent, but we can deal with it on our own, as long as it does not rain," said Xu Xiaoyan, a 37-year-old mother of a seven- and 14-year-old.

Liu Linhong, 46, a middle school English teacher, is staying in her family's old house with 14 other family members in Lushan. She is prepared to live there for months.

She said the family was living on what supplies they already had, and they had not lined up for water or instant noodles, in order to conserve supplies for others in need. Only two walls of their three-bedroom home remained intact after the quake, but the family appeared in relatively high spirits. "I am already very happy to be able to sleep on my bed," Liu said. "I guess it will be months, at the earliest, before any homes are reconstructed or temporary housing is erected."

Zheng Bing, a three-year-old girl, sat quietly on her father's lap. Even with a badly swollen left eye and a wound on the back of her head, she wasn't crying. She was transferred from Baoxing county to a hospital in Lushan on Saturday night after the army arrived.

Her mother was in worse shape, in a tent ward after one of her arms and a leg were amputated. The family had walked with a stretcher for hours before finding an ambulance.

"I don't know what to do now. I don't know how to live, with her mother [like this]," the father said, choking back tears.