Volunteers urged to stay away from quake zone

Source:Global Times Published: 2013-4-22 1:23:01

Volunteers were called on not to take up rescue and road resources in the crucial 72 hours following the 7.0 magnitude earthquake Saturday.

In the post on the Weibo account of the People's Daily Sunday, volunteers' efforts were also hailed.

By 3:25 pm Sunday, 5,939 volunteers had offered to help on the frontline after the earthquake rattled Lushan county of Ya'an, around 150 kilometers southwest of the provincial capital Chengdu.

The county is 85 kilometers from Wenchuan county, which was the epicenter of the 8.0 magnitude earthquake in 2008 that left some 90,000 people dead or missing.

Despite the volunteers' enthusiasm, their efforts have become controversial as most zones near the epicenter, where food, water, electricity and telecommunications are scarce, are cut off by disrupted roads.

The Guangzhou-based Nandu Daily reported Sunday that nearly 300 volunteers, mostly college students, who arrived in Longmen township, did not even bring food and water for themselves, not to mention tools for rescue efforts.

At the same time, congestion disrupted the delivery of some 7,000 tents to the township, said the newspaper.

The Hangzhou-based City Express also reported that a group of volunteers from Beijing asked locals to escort them to remote areas, and one girl in the group even took photos at a makeshift tent.

Wang Hongwei, a professor on emergency management, said orders  dispatching volunteers to those affected zones following the natural disaster should be prioritized.

"The core disaster relief work should be done by the national quake relief team," Wang added.

Han Han, a popular writer who volunteered his services following the Wenchuan earthquake, wrote that the help provided by volunteers may actually hamper rescue efforts.

"Volunteers should leave the first few days after the disaster to relief workers because what they can do at the scene is quite limited," he wrote.

Volunteers were asked to clarify their field of expertise, and some celebrities also worked on donations and organized experienced volunteers to enter the isolated zone.

Global Times




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