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Focus is to prevent epidemics

Updated: 2013-07-25 01:41
By Mu Qian in Dingxi, Gansu, and Zhao Lei in Beijing ( China Daily)

Medical workers are focusing on how to prevent epidemics in quake-hit areas in Northwest China's Gansu province as daily life resumes.

"We have provided traditional Chinese medicines that can prevent colds and diarrhea, and five bags of garlic have been distributed," Li Xueling, director of the center for disease control and prevention in Zhangxian county, said on Wednesday.

Li and her colleagues from the center came to Santiaogou village of Zhangxian on Monday to provide assistance. The village is the worst-hit area in the county.

By late Wednesday, 95 people had been confirmed killed by the magnitude-6.6 quake that jolted the juncture area of Minxian and Zhangxian on Monday morning. More than 1,000 were injured, and nearly 300,000 lost their homes.

Li said most residents were healthy but some rescuers had come down with colds or diarrhea.

She noted that Gansu is well known for its abundance of traditional Chinese medicines, and village doctors usually prescribe herbal medicines.

Huang Douping, mayor of Sizu, a township in Zhangxian, tried to bring calm by saying that the latest reports indicate epidemics are unlikely to break out.

"We have had local water sources tested and found they are not contaminated," he said, adding that workers spray disinfectant each day and sterilizing medicines have been sent to villagers.

Li said workers from her center and local hospitals have pasted posters on residents' tents, telling them how to stay healthy after disasters and what diseases are prone to affect them.

People have had access to bottled water and instant food, and many of them retrieved grain from the debris of their collapsed or damaged houses, Huang said.

In Minxian, most of the collapsed houses were made of earth that could not withstand strong quakes, according to Wang Lanmin, head of the provincial seismological bureau.

More than 360 schools collapsed or were damaged, which may postpone the fall semester for about 16,100 students, said Dan Zhita, deputy director of the provincial education department.


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