Ambassador Zhang Ming Made Speech on the Recent Earthquake

(May 19th, Nairobi. H.E. Mr. Zhang Ming gave a public lecture in the University of Nairobi on several issues including the earthquake that struck southwest China on May 12th. Prof. George Magoha, Vice-Chancellor, and teachers as well as students from Nairobi University, the general public and journalists attended the lecture. The following is the full text by the ambassador's speech on the earthquake:)

 

Earthquake in Sichuan Province of China

A devastating earthquake measuring 8.0 on the Richter Scale struck some areas of the Sichuan Province in southwestern China in the afternoon of May 12th 2008. Heavy casualties and serious property losses have been reported. Up to 14:00 May 19th, the death toll rose to 34,073; over 245,108 people were injured and more than ten million people were directly affected. More than one thousand aftershocks followed and are following. The transportation and communication in the affected areas have been cut off for several days.

As soon as the earthquake struck, the Chinese government carried out prompt, transparent and effective rescue operations.

In 18 minites after the shock, President Hu Jintao issued the national motivation orders to the central government, local governments at all levels, the armed forces and the police forces and called urgent meetings to give top priority to the rescue and relief work.

In less than 2 hours, Premier Wen Jiabao, together with a group of the cabinet ministers, was on board of an airplane on his way to the affected region.

At 20:30, 6 hours after the disaster took place, he arrived somewhere 50 km away to the epicenter and blocked there for the road was cut by stones and landslides. There, the temporary disaster relief headquarters, led by Premier Wen, was set up to oversee and coordinate the emergency rescue operations. President Hu Jintao also flew to Sichuan Province on May 16th and he is now still staying in the quake-hit areas.

The first military rescue team headed for the area within 14 minutes after the quake. Now more than 113,080 Chinese soldiers and policemen from different parts of the country have reached the disaster-hit regions by planes, trains, trucks, ships and even on foot despite of strong aftershocks, road-blockage caused by mass scale landslides, and heavy rains. They have evacuated over 21,000 people both dead and alive from the debris, treated more than 34, 000 injured people and transferred more than 200,000 to safety.

More than 36,000 medical staffs were dispatched there and more than 122, 252 people injured have been hospitalized and necessary sanitization measures have also been taken. We are also trying our best to transport sufficient food and drinking water to the hit-areas. No disease, public health incidents in quake zones have been reported so far.

Countless experts, rescue teams and ordinary volunteers from all over the country, including Taiwan, Hongkong, also joined in the rescue work. Fundraisings and blood-donation campaigns across the country and abroad are being carried out and billions of US dollars have been raised. The staff members of my embassy and the Chinese communities in Kenya have also raised, so far, more than 100, 000 USD.

During this period, China, from ordinary people to top leaders, from aged to youngsters, men and women, from the shock-hit areas to Beijing, Hongkong, Taiwan and Tibet, from the government to the civil society, the whole nation spelled out their fortitude, solidarity and love. A lot of touching and impressive stories were revealed and reported there. Prime Minster Wen Jiabao was injured during the rescue but refused to be attended because there were many others still in need; airborne troops made parachute jumps to the affected area even when there were rainstorms; soldiers who had continuously worked sleeplessly for several days still cried out saying "let me save one more", while the aftershocks were still going on; the local civil servants left their families, who were also in dangers, to carry out their official duties; teachers pushed their students out of the collapsing buildings while themselves were kept there forever; parents used their bodies to shelf their kids but themselves were hit to death; citizens through out china queued in the streets to donate blood and adopt the children who lost their parents; businessmen made great amount of donation and sold their goods below the costs so as to cater the emergency needs; factory employees worked run the clock to produce enough medicines and other necessary rescue stuffs.

China has also received strong supports from the international communities. Leaders and people from various countries including Kenya expressed their sympathies, condolence and all their solidarity with the Chinese people. More than 200 foreign professional rescuers with specialized equipments from Japan, Russia, Korea and Singapore are in Sichuan to help with rescue and relief. Many other countries and international organizations have also made cash and material donation to China.

Even though it had been 7 days since the earthquakes struck, the rescuers still do not give up and fight until the last minutes for the precious lives. At the same time, more efforts have also been made in the fields of anti-epidemic, resettlement and reconstructions. I believe that with the spirits of fortitude, solidarity and love, and with the precious supports from the international community, the Chinese government and people have the ability to rebuild their homeland and return to normal life in a short time.

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