Gaden Relief Projects
Helping to preserve Tibetan culture in India, Mongolia and Tibet

Yushu Earthquake Relief

By Conrad Richter (Updated May 21, 2011)

Woman scavenging in the ruins of a destroyed building in Longbai, a small village near Haxiu.
In April 2010 devastating earthquakes destroyed the Tibetan city of Yushu in Qinghai Province. Thousands perished, and thousands more were left homeless or disabled. Gaden Relief quickly set up a fund, raising almost $10,000 to help the earthquake victims. But, as it turned out, raising money was the easy part; delivering the money to the victims was a much greater challenge.

The Chinese government imposed strict controls on foreign relief organizations, denying visas to foreign relief workers and severely limiting what the few approved organizations could do in Yushu. Gaden Relief first attempted to send aid money with our friends at Rokpa International, but they too were denied access even though they had operated a hospital and school in Yushu for years. We then began to search for a partner among the approved organizations, looking for one we felt could be trusted to deliver aid to victims with a minimum of overhead and a minimum of graft for officials. Our search led us to a small Canadian charity called Plateau Perspectives that has been working in Yushu for years.

Marc Foggin, director of Plateau Perspectives, recommended that we assist in the delivery of stoves, blankets and sweaters to homeless victims in Haxiu (map), a remote village close to the epicentre of the earthquakes. The sweaters and blankets were already acquired but Plateau Perspectives needed money to transport the items to the village. Marc also suggested that we support a program to rehabilitate the injured and disabled and to train local caregivers in Zhiduo (also spelled Zhidoi) (map), a town northwest of Yushu City. We agreed to support these two projects.

Half of the committed project work has been completed as of April 2011. A large tractor trailer load of relief supplies was delivered to Haxiu in January and a rehabilitation camp was held in Zhiduo in April. A second rehabilitation camp is expected to be held in August.

Truck arrives loaded with stoves, blankets and sweaters.
Unloading relief trucks.
Patient at the rehabilitation camp held in April in Zhiduo.
Rehabilatation patients in Zhiduo. Many victims of the devastating earthquakes of 2010 now need rehabilitation therapy.
The pace of reconstruction in Yushu City is painfully slow. Many victims are still living in the tent villages surrounding the city.

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All photos ©2011 Plateau Perspectives/J Marc Foggin.

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