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Press Release 2008/05/22 - Over 55,000 confirmed dead; Premier makes 2nd trip to quake zone
[Released in New York at 11:30 p.m. on Thursday, 22 May 2008]

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For Immediate Release
Press Section
May 22, 2008

Death toll: 55,739; 292,367 injured
Premier taking 2nd trip to quake zone


  • 1. Confirmed death toll in Sichuan Province rose to 55,239 on Thursday, 22 May.  7,182 aftershocks monitored in Sichuan Province.
  • 2. President Hu Jintao visits tent factories to beef up production.
  • 3. Premier Wen Jiabao makes 2nd trip to quake-hit zone to oversee disaster relief work.
  • 4. Ministry of Commerce: Quake has no major impact on China's exports.
  • 5. Water quality in Sichuan shows no significant changes.
  • 6. Tunnel No.109 on Baoji-Chengdu Railway cleared.
  • 7. 10 million yuan worth of cultural relics destroyed in earthquake.
  • 8. 5 intensive care unit experts from Beijing sent to Sichuan.
  • 9. China to build 1 million temporary homes for quake survivors.
  • 10. 86 giant pandas rescued by forest police; China to airlift 8 giant pandas from quake-hit Sichuan to Beijing.
  • 11. Over 2.4 million milliliters of blood has been made available to quake-hit regions by Ministry of Public Health.
  • 12. Donations to China's quake-hit regions rose to 21.4 billion Chinese yuan (3.1 billion U.S. dollars), on May 22, 10 days after quake. Mobile phone users in China have donated nearly 100 million yuan using text messages; China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation (CFPA) has received donations totaling over 240 million yuan.
  • 13. Overseas donors provide 150,000 tents to quake area. (3.3 million tents are needed.)
  • 14. Over 70 countries making donations to quake-hit areas. International community's donations total 2 billion yuan ($ 288 million). 
  • 15. Olympic torch relay route in China adjusted due to earthquake.

 www.xhwenchuan.cn   www.512gov.cn   www.wenchuan.cn


Thursday, 22 May 2008


The confirmed quake death toll has risen to 55,239 in Sichuan alone as of 7:00 p.m., Thursday, said Li Chengyun, vice governor of Sichuan on Friday in Beijing. About 83,988 people were rescued. The quake also injured 281,066, while 24,949 are still missing, said Li. 


Ø         Of the 21 cities and prefectures in Sichuan Province, 19 have been affected by the 5.12 earthquake and its aftershocks. The total area of worst-hit regions in Sichuan Province exceeds 100,000 square kilometers, involving 6 cities/prefectures, 88 counties/precincts and 1,204 towns/villages, with a an quake-affected population of 27.92 million.  The quake was so powerful that 5.93 million houses were severely damaged and 5.46 million collapsed, leaving millions of people homeless.

Ø         83,988 people have been rescued in Sichuan so far. 48,680 medical workers are now diligently working in Sichuan to help injured people recover. 8,000 – 9,000 injured people in Sichuan may be transferred in the next few weeks to other provinces and municipalities for further treatment. Over 200,000 volunteers have been involved in disaster relief.

Ø         Electricity power supply has been restored in 1302 of the 1307 towns and villages that suffered from power cut. Of the 10,457 black-out hamlets, only 429 are still without electricity.


As of 10:00 a.m., May 22, the State Council said 288,431 people were injured nationwide, 33,434 had been saved, and 68,608 medically treated.


As of Thursday noon, 403,340 tents, 2,305,884 cotton-padded quilts and 3,052,000 garments had been delivered to the quake-stricken areas.


Chinese President Hu visits tent factories to beef up production: Chinese President Hu Jintao visited two tent manufacturers in east China's Zhejiang Province on Thursday, urging them to produce as many as possible to meet needs of the quake-hit zone.  Hu also urged them to ensure the quality of their products.


Chinese Premier makes second trip to quake-hit zone: Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao made his second trip to the quake-battered zone on Thursday afternoon to supervise over disaster relief workChinese Premier Wen Jiabao made his second trip to the quake-battered zone on Thursday afternoon to oversee disaster relief work.


l         Wen flew to Mianyang, in southwest Sichuan Province, one of the worst hit cities by the magnitude 8 earthquake on May 12. The focus of relief work has shifted from rescuing lives to rehabilitating quake victims and local society, said the Premier. "It will be a harder and long-term task." The Ministry of Health has sent about 4,500 medical workers to implement sanitation work in quake-hit regions, Wen said.

l         At about 4:40 p.m., he oversaw a quake lake in Tangjiashan of Beichuan county on board a helicopter. n Sichuan, there are 33 "quake lakes" formed by landslides that blocked rivers. The one in Tangjiashan is one of the three largest. Those lakes, formed as water was blocked from following river beds by rock and mud slides set off by the earthquakes, were very dangerous as the water level of some quake-lakes has risen, threatening vast areas. Wen ordered rescue workers to eliminate the danger of these "quake lakes" through engineering means while swiftly evacuate people in danger.

l         In Beichuan, Premier Wen told quake victims to convert sorrow into strength, saying that "building a new hometown is the best consolation for dead relatives." According to a preliminary plan, Beichuan, the worst-hit county in the earthquake, will be rebuilt at a new site. The exact location was yet to be decided, but it was likely to be on the flat land of what is currently neighboring Anxian County,20 km away, according to an official with the Sichuan Provincial government. We will build a new Beichuan," Wen told local officials, adding that the old site could be retained and turned into a quake museum to commemorate the victims.


Auditors to track relief funds and supplies:  According to Liu Jiayi, the auditor general of the National Audit Office of China (CNAO), official auditing organs will be involved in auditing relief funds and supplies and they will follow the tracks every step of the way. This newly appointed auditor general required all auditors under his jurisdiction to break previously established patterns of work during the process. He announced that auditing results should be regularly made public.


l         Since the Wenchuan earthquake, central and local governments at all levels have been distributing massive disaster relief funds. People from all walks of life at home and abroad have also been donating money and supplies. Many of these people are quite concerned with how these resources will be managed and distributed.

l         Liu pointed out that official auditing is being carried out in order to ensure the effective deployment of all relief funds and supplies. This also promotes the establishment of a sound internal management system for future relief funds and supplies. Finally, audits such as these will guarantee that funds will be distributed in a timely and proper fashion to victims in disaster areas, he said.

l         He reminded audit officials to pay close attention to their behaviors and not to interfere in the normal operation of the units being audited. Regarding any emerging problems, the auditors have been urged to dig out the facts and monitor their own work quality.

l         As of 12 AM on May 21, China has received domestic and foreign donations totaling 16 billion yuan, among which 9.985 billion yuan has already been deposited into official accounts. As of 2:00 p.m. on that same day, governments at all levels have distributed earthquake relief funds totaling 12.867 billion yuan. In addition, a large number of relief supplies such as tents, quilts and clothes, have also been received and allocated to the needy.


Donations reach 21.416 billion yuan: The Ministry of Civil Affairs reported that by May 22, total donations from home and abroad reached 21.416 billion yuan. Moreover, the earthquake-hit areas have received 403.34 thousand tents, 3.052 million clothes, 384 thousand tons of stored food, and so on.


Ministry of Commerce: Quake has no major impact on China's exports Commerce minister Chen Deming said on Thursday that the 8.0-magnitude earthquake had no major impact on exports or movement of commodities, except some disaster relief materials such as tents. Chen said China had more room for maneuvering as it is a big country. But he admitted that for such items as tents, which the quake-stricken regions were in dire need of, the ministry was discussing the delivery issue with relevant foreign buyers.


7,182 aftershocks monitored in Sichuan Province By 2:00 p.m. May 22 Beijing Time, a total of 7,182 aftershocks have been monitored and recorded in Sichuan Province, including 91 between magnitude 4.0-4.9, 23 between magnitude 5.0-5.9, 4 above magnitude 6.0.


8 'quake lakes' in dangerous condition: Of the 33 "quake lakes" found in Sichuan Province, formed by landslides that blocked rivers, eight hold more than 3 million cubic meters of water, adding potential danger for the people who have already lost much to the earthquake.


Ø         According to remote sensing information from the air and space, as well as field observations from experts, a quake lake only 2.6 km from Beichuan County, which was devastated by the 8.0 magnitude earthquake on May 12, had doubled between May 14 and May 18 to 150,000 square meters in surface area. Xuanping and Zhangjiaba villages, which were near the lake, are flooded.

Ø         To make matters worse, the Chinese National Meteorological Center (NMC) predicted that rains might sweep the quake-hit regions of the southwest next week and raise the water level of quake lakes.

Ø         A quake lake once burst and caused a major disaster after an earthquake that hit Maoxian County in 1933, said Yin Yueping, deputy chief engineer with China Geological Survey (CGS), adding that they had been monitoring these newest lakes since the quake.

Ø         Information on all 34 quake lakes has been sent to quake control and relief headquarters, the Ministry of Water Resources and the government of Sichuan Province for reference.

Ø         According to Yin, efforts are being made to evacuate people living downstream of the lakes. But he did not reveal the exact population to be evacuated.

Ø         Zhu Bing, deputy head of the water resources authority in Sichuan Province, said the province has formulated emergency response plans, including evacuating people to safer places when necessary and blasting or digging of sluices to discharge water.

Ø         The Ministry of Land and Resources and the Ministry of Water Resources jointly sent experts to check and assess the condition of the lakes. The experts departed from Beijing for the sites on Thursday.


Water quality in Sichuan shows no significant changes: Water quality monitoring result of Sichuan Province released by the Ministry of Environmental Protection yesterday shows that, compared with the pre-earthquake period, water qualities of Sichuan and its neighboring provinces have undergone no significant changes, Chengdu Business News reported.


Tunnel No. 109 on Baoji-Chengdu Railway cleared: The tunnel No.109 on Baoji-Chengdu Railway was cleared at 10:00 a.m. today after all the 40 carriages in the tunnel were pulled out. This will lay a solid foundation for the strengthening and reopening of the tunnel.


China to build 1 million temp homes for quake victims: China's Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development said Thursday that it had requested local authorities in earthquake-hit areas to build 1 million temporary homes by Aug. 10 to accommodate quake victims of the May 12 earthquake.


10 million yuan worth of cultural relics destroyed: The earthquake has caused damage to more than 85 national cultural relic protection units and 13 museums in Chongqing, according to Chongqing Morning Post. The estimated loss is over 10 million yuan, and the former residence of China's most famous poet Li Bai (a poet in the Tang Dynasty) was heavily destroyed.


5 IUC experts from Beijing sent to Sichuan 5 intensive care unit (IUC) experts from Beijng left for Sichuan Thursday afternoon. Chengdu Huaxi Hospital will be their first stop. This medical team is the sixth one sent by Beijing to the quake areas, according to The First.  


Ministry of Public Health allocates over 2.4 million milliliters of blood:  According to Ministry of Public Health, by 10:00 a.m. May 22nd, 2,445,700 milliliters of blood had been allocated to quake-hit areas in Sichuan, Chongqing and Kunming that accepted injured victims, according to Xinhua.


GDAE sends 550 tons of disinfectors and 100,000 respirators The PLA General Department of Arming Equipment (GDAE) sent 550 tons of disinfectors and 100,000 respirators to quake-hit areas on May 22, according to Xinhua News Agency.


WHO offers more medical aid to China's quake-hit areas  The World Health Organization (WHO) is rushing additional medical supplies to China's earthquake-hit areas, the supplies will be able to treat 130,000 people, according to Xinhua.


Mobile phone users donate nearly 100 million yuan to quake victim Using text messages, China's mobile phone users have donated nearly 100 million yuan to quake victims as of Thursday, according to Xinhua. The Red Cross Society of China announced on Thursday it had received 99.07 million yuan from the country's four telecommunications operators (China Unicom, China Telecom, China Mobile and China Netcom) that was donated by mobile users. By sending a text message with any number from one to 30, mobile users can donate that amount, according to the operators.


550 overseas reporters in quake-hit areas: According to statistics from quake relief agencies, now 550 reporters from 114 overseas media agencies conduct interviews in quake-hit areas such as Sichuan, 326 are foreigners.  After the 8.0-magnitude earthquake on May 22nd, Chinese government did not set any limitation to interviews from overseas media.


Donations to China's quake-hit regions rise to 21.4 bln yuan: As of Thursday noon, donations from home and abroad to China's quake-hit regions had reached 21.4 billion yuan (3 billion U.S. dollars), up 5.4 billion yuan from the previous day, according to the Information Office of State Council.  So far, 1.9 billion yuan had been forwarded to the earthquake-affected areas, the office said.


China to airlift giant pandas from quake-hit Sichuan to Beijing: China Southern Airlines (CSA) will transport eight giant pandas from quake-hit Sichuan Province to the national capital Beijing so that the animals can have a better breeding and recovery environment.


86 giant pandas rescued by forest police: The 86 giant pandas in Wolong Nature Reserve in Sichuan Province were rescued by forest policemen after the massive earthquake in China, according to PLA Daily. The forest policemen are now helping strengthen the panda-houses, as well as monitor the earthquake conditions in case the disaster hits again.


UN Chinese staff donate to Sichuan quake-hit areas: By May 21, UN Chinese staff in New York City had contributed more than US$45,900 to the earthquake-stricken areas in Sichuan, according to CNS.


Text messages raise 100 mln yuan for China's quake survivors:  Using text messages, China's mobile phone users have donated nearly 100 million yuan (14.4 million U.S. dollars) to quake victims as of Thursday.


U.S. gov't assistance to China accumulates to $2.8 mln: Up to Thursday morning, the U.S. government assistance to China's quake-hit areas had accumulated to 2.8 million U.S. dollars, said U.S. Ambassador to China Clark Randt here Thursday.


Donations from UNESCO reach $50,000: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) approved on May 21 to offer China 50,000 US$ to help China's quake relief efforts. The donation is aimed to rebuild the education system in quake-hit areas, and UNESCO expressed its deep sorrow to quake victims.


CFPA: Donations exceed 240m yuan: By May 22, China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation (CFPA) has received donations totaling over 240 million yuan, according to Sina. Among them, money donations total 120,478,200 yuan, while relief materials donations amount to 120,835,000 yuan.


Foreign countries, organizations provide 150,000 tents:  The Information Office of the State Council released that by 21:00 Wednesday, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, the United Kingdom, the United States and the U.N. Refugee Agency had provided over 150,000 tents to China's quake-hit regions, according to Xinhua.


Olympic torch relay route in China adjusted due to earthquake: The Beijing Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games (BOCOG) decided on Thursday to adjust the route of the Olympic torch relay due to the May 12th earthquake.


The relay in Sichuan, scheduled between June 15th to 18th, was postponed to August 3rd to 5th before the torch is brought to Beijing, officials with the BOCOG said. Adjustments will also be made in future legs of the relay route. The relay was suspended three days between May 19th and 21st in a mourning period after the earthquake. It was resumed in Ningbo of east China's Zhejiang Province on Thursday.


  • Israel donates 1.5 mln dlrs worth of materials: Israeli government sent 1.5 million dollars' relief goods to China through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on May 22.
  • Tajikistan transports relief materials to China: Five trucks left Tajikistan for China on May 22 to transfer quake relief materials, including 150 tents, 1500 clothes and 20 tons of drinking water, according to Xinhua.
  • Pakistan to further donate 10,000 tents to China's quake zone: Pakistan decided on Thursday to further donate 10,000 tents to China's quake zone. By now, Pakistan has donated 22,260 tents to China, Xinhua reports.
  • Romania to donate US$860,000 worth of relief supplies to China: Romania Foreign Ministry announced on Thursday, May 22 that Romanian government decided to donate about US$860,000 worth of relief supplies to China's quake zone, according to Xinhua.




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