Xi'an enhances food supplies amid reports of slow delivery
Published: Dec 30, 2021 08:48 PM
Volunteers and COVID-19 prevention workers distribute daily necessities to residents in a sealed off residential compound in Xi'an, Northwest China's Shaanxi Province on December 30. Photo: VCG

Volunteers and COVID-19 prevention workers distribute daily necessities to residents in a sealed off residential compound in Xi'an, Northwest China's Shaanxi Province on December 30, 2021. Photo: VCG

Xi'an authorities and distribution companies are accelerating the distribution of household supplies amid a shortage of delivery personnel against the backdrop of wide public attention on the local situation after residents took to social media platforms stating that they are running out of food. 

Officials from  Xixian New District said at a press conference on Thursday that they are actively coordinating the supply chain. They have also set up 1,603 WeChat groups, covering 195 communities, to supply more than 30 kinds of food and medicine for local residents.  

Suppliers would directly deliver goods to the communities. Community workers and volunteers would send the goods door to door, the officials said. 

The topics of Xi'an residents snapping up supplies and facing difficulties buying food were subject to a heated discussed from the beginning of the lockdown on December 23 and gained even greater attention since the controls upgraded on Monday. 

Local authorities said that the city is sufficient in livelihood supplies while the Global Times learned that a major challenge lies in "last-kilometer" delivery — from communities to households as the upgraded controls ban residents from picking up deliveries themselves. 

A Xi'an resident surnamed Yao told the Global Times that they are no longer allowed to pick foods up from last Monday. "We can order food online and deliverymen leave them at the community entrance, but the problem is the community doesn't have enough personnel to send the packages to our doors," Yao said. Residents in Yao's community have started to exchange supplies and food among themselves. 

There is also a shortage of deliverymen and vehicles, as many employees of local logistics firms are also under home quarantine and vehicles are banned from using the road or entering communities without permission, according to residents reached by the Global Times.  

Chen Jie, who is a driver of a food distribution team for an online shopping platform, told media the entire team is staying at home since Monday. Xi'an local distribution companies are trying to get community entry permissions for their drivers to get them back to work as soon as possible, local media reported.  

City authorities have been in full swing to deliver supplies to residents and guarantee citizens can survive the lockdown, but, according to media reports and some residents reached by the Global Times, the implementation varies across different districts. 

Multiple Xi'an districts have mobilized as many as personnel to enhance the distribution of supplies and many households have received free vegetable packages.

But there are also media reports and social media posts saying some residents are running out of food and were surviving on a piece of bread each day. The Global Times learned from Xi'an residents that the policies are different among districts and priority is given to areas that are hit hardest by the epidemic or low income groups.  

A local resident surnamed Wang told the Global Times that his community is purchasing food packages for residents, but the same-size package is not enough for big families. Wang said some residents in his community offer online tutoring classes for students in other families in exchange for food.