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Traffic and road safety in Hong Kong

Blood donors flood Red Cross centres in Hong Kong to help 40 injured victims of fatal bus crash

Hongkongers wait hours outside donation facilities in effort to help those in hospital after tragedy

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 11 February, 2018, 9:15pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 11 February, 2018, 11:52pm

More than 2,000 potential blood donors flooded Red Cross centres citywide on Sunday to help 40 injured victims of a fatal bus crash in Tai Po a day earlier.

At a centre in Causeway Bay eager donors were seen spilling out of the entrance as they queued to offer help.

As the facility was due to shut its doors at 7pm, dozens of people were still waiting in line – a sight which prompted the aid agency to extend its service hours.

Donors earlier in the day had been told by staff that they could be waiting up to four hours. Many were urged to come back another day or reserve a time slot online.

Bonnie Chiu Ka-po, 39, who had lingered around the centre on Russell Street for more than five hours before her turn came, said on Sunday night that giving blood was the most direct way to help the crash victims, and her wait had been worthwhile.

Chiu, a regular blood donor, said: “Lunar New Year is approaching. The accident was really sudden … I’ve been told that the blood bank in Hong Kong has been running low. I happened to be good to give blood – following a previous donation six months ago – so that’s why I came.”

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The homemaker said she had made up her mind to donate on Saturday night immediately after hearing about the tragedy.

Walton Chan Wai-ching, 34, also showed up at the Russell Street centre but was unable to make a donation. He said he had not expected so many people.

“Hongkongers have good civic qualities ... The fact many people are willing to give blood is something we should be glad about,” Chan, a finance worker, said.

At another Red Cross donation facility on Tai Ho Road in Tsuen Wan, about 100 people were seen queuing on Sunday afternoon. Donors were told they might need to wait about two hours. Regular donors among the crowd said there was usually no line, even at weekends.

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Red Cross Blood Transfusion Service chief executive and medical director Dr Lee Cheuk-kwong said that as of 9.30pm, 2,200 people had been registered to donate, and about 1,000 had done so. Those figures represented a jump of more than 50 per cent on normal Sunday figures.

He said the city’s public hospitals had since the crash asked the Red Cross for about 70 bags of blood, each containing between 350 and 450 millilitres.

“We’re thankful for the generosity of the public. They need to wait longer than usual,” Lee said.