Tibetan Aid Groups Move to Help Quake Victims in Dartsedo

Damage to houses, school buildings and monasteries is extensive.

Tibetans affected by the earthquake stand outside makeshift tents at a relief center in Kangding in the mountains west of Sichuan province, Nov. 23, 2014.

Aid groups have moved in to provide assistance to thousands affected by a deadly 5.9-magnitude earthquake in a Tibetan populated area in southwestern China’s Sichuan province, an official from one of the organizations said.

The quake left at least two people dead and injured 54 others, according to reports.

“The human toll in this earthquake was not that severe, but the damage to private houses, school buildings and monasteries is extensive and shockingly intense,” Tulko Gyatso Rinpoche of the local Compassion Aid Foundation told RFA’s Tibetan Service. “Many buildings collapsed and some suffered cracks.”

He said the foundation sent a truckload of 100 tents, shoes and food to the affected areas.

“We will continue helping the victims,” he said.

The epicenter of the quake, which struck on Nov. 22 and lasted about eight seconds, was Lhagang town in Dartsedo (in Chinese, Kangding) county in the Kardze (Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, a Tibetan source said.

“The Dzogchen school located in the area suffered major damage,” the source said.

Dartsedo is the seat of Ganzi prefecture and about 330 miles (531 kilometers) from the Sichuan provincial capital Chengdu.

Lhagang town is about 30 kilometers (20 miles) from Dartsedo, which is part of Kham, one of the three historical regions of Tibet and is divided today between western Sichuan and the eastern part of what is now the Tibet Autonomous Region.

Damage

Nearly 80,000 people of a local population of about 100,000 were affected by the earthquake, which damaged 25,000 houses and forced 6,200 to evacuate, according to China’s official Xinhua News Agency.

Chinese state media said the quake struck Dartsedo at 4:55 p.m. and had a magnitude of 6.3 on the Richter scale, according to China’s seismological agency, although the U.S. Geological Survey put the magnitude at 5.9.

Among the 54 injured, six were in critical condition and another five had sustained serious injuries, according to Xinhua. The remaining 43 had minor injuries, including 19 primary school students who were hurt in a stampede.

China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs has provided 1,000 tents, 2,000 quilts and 2,000 cotton-padded coats to survivors as well as dispersed 50 million yuan (U.S. $8.14 million) to disaster relief efforts, the Xinhua report said.

Reported by Chakmo Tso for RFA’s Tibetan Service. Translated by Karma Dorjee. Written in English by Roseanne Gerin.