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South Korean team keeps things clean

Source: China Daily | 05-27-2008 15:30

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Special Report:   Strong quake jolts SW China

With an 18-kg tank full of disinfectant on his back, Kim Sung-ki brought his hands together in front of chest to greet victims living in temporary shelters before he started his work.

The 60-year-old South Korean, along with 17 others sent by South Korean NGO Samarian 911, was in Shifang to help the relief effort.

"We feel very sad for the victims of the quake, and that's why we're here," Kim said through an interpreter.

"We should have come to Sichuan earlier, but we were delayed."

Samarian 911 is the second team sent by South Korea to aid relief work.

The 18-member team yesterday worked to sterilize Shifang Square, where hundreds of homeless families are taking shelter.

"You have to spray every corner and sewage pipe where viruses might accumulate," Kim, who has 12 years' experience in disaster relief, said.

The team is working to prevent the spread of epidemics, which are now a major hazard for survivors.

One survivor, surnamed Chen, said: "The earthquake didn't kill us because we ran. But if there's a disease outbreak, where can we seek shelter?"

The woman, who refused to give her full name, is living under a large plastic sheet, and her bed is just inches off the ground.

"Mosquitoes and stray dogs are the most annoying as they might carry disease," she said.

Speaking about the South Korean rescue team, which arrived on Sunday, the woman said they are very polite and patient.

"They are even more careful than the Chinese health workers," she said.

Samarian 911 also brought machinery to help people rebuild their homes.

The international community, which sent aid workers soon after the quake to help find survivors, has shifted its focus to providing shelter and fighting disease.

Yesterday at an Italian mobile hospital in the town of Xiaode, where all medical institutions were paralyzed in the quake, doctor Giuliano Rondini from Pisa Hospital held a patient's foot as a second Italian medic wrapped it in a bandage.

The patient was Zeng Guirong, a resident of the nearby town of Xinnong. She tumbled and hurt her foot when walking on debris yesterday morning.

"We suspect there is a fracture on the top of your foot. You need a good rest and will need an X-ray later," Rondini told the farmer via an interpreter.

Seconds after Zeng was escorted away, another woman complaining of sore legs was led into the hospital.

Rondini checked her feet and lower legs then asked the 42-year-old to rock back and to on the balls of her feet.

He then said she was fine, but said she would need to have a blood test at hospital.

"They did a good job and helped me a lot," Zeng said afterward. "I trust them."

Rosario Chiarenza, leader of the 17-member Italian medical team, told China Daily the mobile hospital is fitted with first-class equipment.

Since it opened on Saturday, the hospital has treated about 300 patients, he said.


Editor:Du Xiaodan