An aerial view of a temporary settlement area in Changning, Sichuan province, after a magnitude 6.0 earthquake and multiple aftershocks hit the region, June 18, 2019. (Photo by Hu Peng/chinadaily.com.cn)
Thousands of stranded residents are comforted with beds, food and support
Four teachers were busy playing games with several young children in an attempt to get the youngsters to forget, if for just a moment, the terrifying situation they had recently endured.
The scene unfolded outside tents filled with people displaced by the magnitude 6.0 earthquake that shook Changning county in Yibin, Sichuan province, on Monday.
The earthquake left 13 people dead and 199 injured, six of whom remain in critical condition. About 160,000 people have been affected. The Ministry of Emergency Management said the earthquake damaged roads and 22,000 homes, and disrupted power and communication services.
After the disaster, President Xi Jinping ordered all-out rescue and relief operations. The ministry activated an emergency response system and dispatched teams to the earthquake zone to provide assistance.
Tents, cots and quilts arrived and were distributed on Tuesday to those forced out of their homes.
So far, all the injured have received treatment and almost all of those affected have been resettled in safe areas. Power has been restored in most parts of the earthquake zone and roads have been cleared of debris.
"The inspection of the situation in Changning county is nearly complete. People's lives in the area are returning to normal," the ministry said in a news release.
One of the teachers, surnamed Yang, said she and eight other teachers from a kindergarten had come to play with the children and alleviate their trauma after the earthquake.
Zhao Jin'e, a 36-year-old woman who shares a tent with 11 relatives, said getting back into a routine was important to help calm her nerves and ease her anxiety.
An aerial view of a temporary settlement area in Changning, Sichuan province, after a magnitude 6.0 earthquake and multiple aftershocks hit the region, June 18, 2019. [Photo by Hu Peng/chinadaily.com.cn]
"At 6 am, soldiers offer tent inhabitants instant noodles, milk, eggs and congee. At noon, volunteers give us bread and water. For dinner, kindhearted people give us porridge," Zhao said.
When the earthquake struck, cracks appeared in the walls of Zhao's apartment and she carried her 8-year-old son Xiaoyun, who was fast asleep, outside.
Zhao, her son and 19-year-old daughter Yimei share a tent with nine relatives.
"The government has provided cots, quilts and tents. Experts arrived in the town of Shuanghe, the epicenter of the quake, today to check whether homes are still habitable. Those whose homes are still livable are expected to return in one or two days," she said.