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Plateau Perspectives Response

Response, Relief, and Recovery efforts by PP and YEQR

Our Response So Far

Plateau Perspectives responded to the request from prefecture government to assist in the relief work since 14 April 2010. In carrying out its work so far, PP has liaised with the prefecture Foreign Affairs, Health Bureau and Public Security Bureau, and also the provincial Public Security Bureau. Our emergency response has been profiled in national and international media, including BBC, CNN, CBC, Time Magazine and Global Times. The Global Times article can be viewed at

Medical Camp in Yushu

In the first two weeks following the earthquake, Plateau Perspectives ran a medical camp that treated between 120 and 240 patients each day, for a total of more than 1,200 patients. PP also established a ?Samaritan Fund? so that individual patients needing further care can be assisted if and when they travel to Xining. Overall, all partners in prefecture government (and the local communities served) have been extremely appreciative

Caring for Patients in Xining

In Xining, nearly 300 patients under the care of several provincial hospitals received care packages, with items ranging from toothbrushes to new clothing, with the help of many volunteers in town.

Emergency Relief Supplies

Relief supplies have been purchased and distributed in Yushu, including items such as large tents, beds, cooking utensils, solar powered electric lighting and thermals (clothing). Such household supplies can greatly enhance people?s living conditions in the new relocation camps. Additional donations of good quality used clothes have also been received from FedEx and now await distribution.

Water Supply and Purification

Potable water is a necessary commodity, especially in relocated communities. Assistance was given in the start-up phase for a national project to expand water services in Yushu town, and now additional plans are under review to trial and demonstrate a low-tech (appropriate technology) system developed following the Sichuan earthquake. It is unclear, though, how much local communities recognize a need for supplementary purification, such that the future of this venture remains uncertain.

Training Workshops about Caring for Traumatised Children

A child and adolescent psychiatrist who runs an inpatient adolescent ward in the United Kingdom and whose daily work consists of speaking to traumatised children, will present workshops in Xining on 8-16 June 2010. Topics will include communicating with children, children who are distressed or upset, bereaved children, and also guidance on different approaches that are helpful and approaches that may be harmful when working with (i.e., supporting, counselling) traumatised people, especially children.

Building Sustainable Livelihoods

Over the past few years, Plateau Perspectives has also been working closely with local pastoral communities to help improve their quality of life, with a special focus on increasing economic opportunities; and amongst the options available is the development of appropriate tourism. Discussions are therefore already underway to develop a ‘Yushu Tourism Network’ that may help set the desired ’standard’ for tourism in the region, which should consider social, cultural and environmental factors as well as economic benefits. Following the earthquake, helping to rebuild and/or develop alternative livelihoods will be of great importance, and with a national focus now on Yushu as a major ecotourism destination, engaging with and supporting local Tibetan communities so that they may truly benefit from such new developments is a key role for us to consider.

Final death toll at 2,698

News agencies reporting final death toll

Several news outlets are reporting the final official death toll to be right at 2,698.  Provided below is an excerpt from People Daily:

China puts final death toll from Qinghai quake at 2,698

The final death toll from the 7.1-magnitude earthquake that jolted Yushu of northwest China’s Qinghai Province on April 14 was 2,698, with 270 people missing, vice governor Zhang Guangrong said Monday.

Among the victims, 2,687 had been identified and the identities of 11 bodies remained unknown, Zhang told a press conference.

The vice governor said the killed include 199 students and a Hong Kong resident.


Strong Aftershocks in Yushu

5.4 aftershock felt in Yushu

A 5.4 aftershock, the strongest since the initial quakes, was reported around the Yushu/Gyegu area.  There are no reported injuries at this time.  Our staff took several calls from friends and coworkers in Yushu who all reported that the situation wasn’t serious nor was it hampering relief efforts.  This is to be expected since the vast majority of Yushu residents are living in tents outside of town.  Reports did come in that the aftershock was much stronger on the west side of town while relief workers on the east side of town still felt the tremor.

For more information, see the attached links:

Magnitude 5.4
Date-Time Saturday, May 29, 2010 at 02:29:54 UTC
Saturday, May 29, 2010 at 10:29:54 AM at epicenter
Location 33.141°N, 96.153°E
Depth 50.7 km (31.5 miles)
Distances 80 km (50 miles) WNW of Gyegu (Yushu), Qinghai, China
240 km (150 miles) NNW of Qamdo, Xizang (Tibet), China
365 km (225 miles) ESE of Tanggulashan, Qinghai, China
1950 km (1220 miles) WSW of BEIJING, Beijing, China


Relief Update 3:04pm local time on 5/27

Our relief efforts continue in Jiegu with provision of necessities for daily living in the tent encampments. Two of our field staff returned to Xining late last night after having distributed durable insulated tents, thermal clothing, cooking implements, and various other materials to make life in the camps more livable. They also assessed the needs for additional relief supplies and services while on site, and will be reporting soon as to what specific supplies need to be sent down over the coming days.

Relief Update

Relief Update+Recap as of 4:54pm local time on 5/24

We apologize for the lack of updates recently; the fact remains, however, that we are still very much involved in the relief efforts.

Disaster relief work in Jiegu/Yushu continues, as so many needs following the earthquake will persist for weeks and months to come. Up to three years may be needed for full reconstruction of the town … and this means that many local residents will have to live in their makeshift tent-homes for at least one winter, and probably two winters, before moving back to a semblance of normality. It is not an easy time, and we will continue to assist people in Yushu in as many ways as possible.

Specifically, we are now focusing our relief efforts on three fronts: distribution of emergency supplies, provision of clean water, and (discussions regarding) the possible establishment of a rehabilitation centre somewhere in the prefecture. Relief supplies currently being distributed to needy families in Jiegu include large tents, beds for the elderly, household cooking sets, solar powered lighting, thermal clothing, etc. Additional requests also are being made to assist with provision of fuel for heating and cooking. On-site we are cooperating with government and village leaders, other emergency relief camps, and local families. Regarding water, we are now arranging for a new low-tech (appropriate technology) water purification system to be trialed, which could meet the needs of several households per unit; and we also are in discussion with a large firm about the possible installation of an community-scale water purification system that can provide for over 10,000 people with one unit and could be used in township centers. Rehabilitation needs are equally great and we are therefore also exploring the different ways possible to assist in this area, as we already have on staff, or available, medical personnel well suited to help meet such needs.

Continued assistance is needed, however, to help carry out all of the above activities – particularly in the area of on-going financial support. The relief and recovery work following the devastating earthquake that affected Yushu on April 14, 2010, will need to be long-term and your support is enormously appreciated.

Thank you!

(if you are interested in helping with the needs listed in a financial capacity, please go here)


Relief Updates as of 12:39am local time on 5/6

Over the past week we delivered 28 high-capacity water purification systems to Jiegu. On Tuesday we sent a team with two trucks full of tents for distribution to residents of the town, as well as checking on water purification efforts. They arrived in Jiegu today along with a chemical engineer to start assessing longer-term options for improving access to clean water and two Plateau Perspectives managers to discuss potential for delivery of additional relief supplies.


Relief Updates as of 1:19am local time on 4/26

On Saturday evening, all of the medical relief camps under the direction and supervision of the prefecture health bureau — including our camp, which had operated for nearly 10 days — were requested to bring their operations to an end, as the provision of medical care for residents of Yushu was to be transitioned over to the government’s field hospitals, under the coordination of a representative from the national health bureau.

This therefore brings to a close the initial, short-term, ‘Phase One’ of Plateau Perspectives’ response to the devastating earthquake that hit Yushu on April 14, 2010. However much more will need to be done in the weeks and months ahead; and so from our perspectives, we now are simply moving into a next phase of work — including such matters as water purification, distribution of relief supplies, and other support for local partners (including both government bureaus and specific communities) that have been significantly affected by the earthquake.

Already, two water purification systems have been installed in one of the largest displaced person camps on the outskirts of Yushu, each with a proven capacity to provide potable water for over 2,500 people; and a request has been made for 30 water purification units in total, to be set up at 19 different locations throughout the town. Further afield, even remote counties, townships and villages in Yushu prefecture are affected by the earthquake, due to the breakdown in the normal medical referral system. Therefore, many herding communities that we have worked with in the past — some for more than a decade — also are likely to require additional support in the months ahead. A more detailed needs assessment, including health and other areas of social service, will be carried out in the near future.

*Above is a picture of the water machines that will be used to help provide clean drinking water to the residents in Yushu affected by the quakes. Timeline of events

Timeline of Plateau Perspectives relief work in Yushu/Jiegu

We have been able to map out our relief work from last week in response to the Yushu quakes.  In order to grasp the big picture of the Plateau Perspectives continued relief work in Yushu we thought it would be nice to share it with you as well (click here).  Also, make sure and give the video below a quick look.  This video footage coincides well with the timeline and will hopefully give you an idea of how extensive the quake damage in Yushu really is.

In other news, we were able to get two fresh doctors into camp this morning for continued support of our medical relief work.  We are still up and running in Yushu and doctors and nurses continue to see between 150 to 200 patients all while providing extremely thorough medical care.  We continue to be pleased to be able to support the Yushu community at this time.



Relief Updates as of 1:35am local time on 4/23

Yesterday we awoke to two inches of snow on the ground in Xining.  Today was Yushu’s turn with snow falling for much of the morning. Our medical camp staff made the most of it and jokingly surprised the Xining staffers with this homemade sign reading “Merry Christmas from Yushu April 22, 2010!”.  While most locations in North America are experiencing spring-like conditions, the Tibetan plateau’s weather during this time of year can be very temperamental.  Nonetheless, we were all happy to see the medical team in good spirits.

Relief operations have been running very smoothly at our Yushu medical camp.  Patients continued to file through and the doctors on site are averaging close to 150-200 patients per day.  The medical camp staff are approaching treatment of nearly 1,000 patients during our time in Yushu.  We remain excited to see that our water filtering systems continue to provide fresh drinking water for the people of Yushu.  Needless to say we are thrilled with this initial relief response in Yushu and are making preparations to move into new phases of sustainable medical relief work in Yushu.


Before and after

The relief effort continues one week after the quake.

In an effort to show the extensive damage in Yushu, we were able to post before and after shots from similar vantage points seen above.  Further away from this point you will notice more widespread damage – while many of the buildings in the foreground either collapsed directly upon themselves, tilted off their foundations, or were literally cracked down the middle.  Yushu residents are still not allowed to re-enter their homes.  There are sections of Yushu that can be seen in these images where literally every structure was destroyed (again, further away from this vantage point.)

*please note that these pictures are taken from the same hillside but from different vantage points approximately 100 yards from each other.  Use the red building/monastery towards the center of both pictures as a reference point.  For more pictures of the ongoing relief work, please click here

Jiegu #2 from mr name on Vimeo.

Yushu Earthquake Relief