Local nonprofit groups are working alongside partner organizations in China and Tibet to provide relief to those affected by Tuesday’s magnitude 6.9 earthquake on the Tibetan Plateau.
Reports estimate that approximately 600 people have died, and that number is still expected to rise. Around 10,000 people are thought to be injured and efforts are being made to locate the 300 people still missing in the wreckage. Chinese officials declared that up to 85 percent of the structures in the province have been destroyed.
Jim Prosser, manager of media relations at Direct Relief International, said the first stage of relief aid involves assessing the needs of the affected with their current inventory of supplies.
“Right now it’s gauging the medical supply needs of our partners with our inventory of $60 million in medical support,” Prosser said. “It is probably going to be 72 hours to figure out that step of the stage.”
The Goleta-based nonprofit is providing support to their partner organizations One H.E.A.R.T. and the Amitabha Foundation, which focus on maternal and child health in the Tibetan area.
The American Red Cross and their sister organization Red Cross Society of China have also pledged support for the Tibetan people, according to a spokesperson for the organization.
“We pledged $50,000 in support,” Eric Porterfield, American Red Cross spokesperson on international services, said. “The Chinese Red Cross has sent about 500 tents, 4,000 quilts and 4,000 winter coats and clothing.”
Director of Development at the Santa Barbara County Red Cross Kristiana Kocis said that the RCSC has also provided a water sanitation device to provide clean water for evacuees of the earthquake.
Even with the influx of supplies, it is difficult for rescue services to reach the disaster site in the mountainous Qinghai province, which is located 13,000 feet above sea level.
Arlene Samen, executive director of One H.E.A.R.T., said that the Chinese Army has responded to the earthquake and is working alongside disaster relief organizations in providing assistance and search teams for possible survivors.
Donations can be made to the Qinghai Quake fund on the Direct Relief International Web site.