Firefighters toil through the night, doctors administer medicines as needed, and Party members coordinate self-rescue and mutual help efforts amid the ongoing post-disaster relief operations in quake-hit Gansu Province in northwest China.
Numerous committed individuals are contributing to the rescue efforts, racing against time after the 6.2-magnitude earthquake, reaching a focal depth of 10 km, struck the province at 11:59 p.m. Monday.
Liugou Township, located about 8 km from the county seat of Jishishan in Gansu Province’s Bonan-Dongxiang-Salar Autonomous County, is the epicenter of this strong quake.
As of 8 a.m. on Friday, the death toll from the earthquake has risen to 117 in Gansu.
“I had just concluded a video call with my family when I sensed an obvious shaking of the dormitory building,” said Ma Tongning, a fire brigade instructor in the county. “As I hurried downstairs, I found that my colleagues had already gathered outside.”
The fire brigade was the first rescue team to reach the worst-hit Dahejia Town, and subsequently, they were joined by other incoming teams.
Before the rescue mission, team member Ma Yingming received news of significant damage in his family’s Chenjia Village. Despite this, he chose not to prioritize it and instead joined the rest of the team.
“I was aiding stranded villagers in other communities while my comrades were saving my own family. I trust them,” Ma said, adding that he and his comrades are committed to making every possible effort to help the villagers tide over this difficult time.
“We’re racing against time, all in the hope that our hometown can recover as quickly as possible,” Ma said.
At the relocation site in Dahe Village, a makeshift clinic has been set up by six healthcare professionals. The entire process, from assessing injuries or illnesses to dispensing medications, is completed in just a few minutes.
“Within an hour after the earthquake, everyone rushed to the hospital to help. We carried inpatients downstairs and looked after the arriving patients. No one got a wink of sleep during the entire day,” said Zhang Juxia, who works with a local hospital in Jishishan.
By the third day, round-the-clock medical service stations had been set up at various relocation sites.
Physical injuries demand timely medical care, and mental wounds also need to be healed as soon as possible.
“The emotional trauma caused by the earthquake is significant, and timely, effective intervention can aid disaster survivors in overcoming difficulties,” said Liang Lei, a psychologist at the Gansu No. 2 People’s Hospital.
At 5 a.m. Tuesday, Liang and a team of mental health professionals started offering consultations. Their initial focus was providing psychological first aid, with special attention to children.
After an earthquake, children often show signs of psychological regression, like blank stares and excessive dependence. Approaches like outdoor activities, art and cognitive-behavioral therapy help open their hearts, facilitating emotional release and crisis resolution, Liang added.