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Tent city offers sanctuary for earthquake victims

Daqiong and Palden Nyma in Xigaze, Tibet
Updated: May 2,2015 11:18 AM     China Daily

More than 900 tents in Lhaze county are fitted with the services of accommodation, healthcare, food supplies, communication and basic necessities.[Photo/China Daily]

Basang was making a bed for his wife and his daughter Mantse Drolma was preparing dinner for the family. After his wife lay down in bed, he went to the tent hospital to get medicine to help ease her headache.

“We are pleased that we survived, and I know life is so fragile,” said Mantse Drolma, 23.

Their surroundings look like a city of tents.

Situated in Lhaze county, 151 km from Tibet’s second biggest city Xigaze, the settlement is one of four camps for earthquake victims in Tibet.

With more than 900 tents, the settlement housed 649 earthquake victims by the afternoon of April 30, all evacuated from the region’s severely affected Dam township on April 29.

“More than 1,000 people have participated in the earthquake relief in our county, and the settlement is fitted with the services of accommodation, healthcare, food supplies, communication and basic necessities,” said Yan Huifeng, director of the Lhaze county government office.

Ane Dawa, a 30-year-old nun from Tibet’s heavily affected Dam township, said she felt much safer and pleased with the good services the government provided in the new settlement.

“We are provided with meals, bedding, medical care, communication services, mineral water and other basic life necessities,” said Ane Dawa.

She said the disaster took the life of an official in her monastery, and she was injured.

“I had a health check with the help of the medical staff in the tent hospital. The result showed I was fine and I was told to take good rest,” she said.

Chungdak, 31, another victim from Dam, said she appreciated the help from the government, and she hoped to get home.

When the elderly and kids feel headaches or suffer from the cold, the medical staff regularly visit them in the tents and provide them with medicines.

“Regular checkups and visits showed that most of them are fine, and only a few had light high-altitude-sickness,” said Phurbu Tsering, 41, deputy of the county’s healthcare service center.

Tashi Sangmo, a 41-year-old resident from Dam, said she is satisfied with the food and accommodation in the new home, although she worried about her business in Dam.

“We cannot lean on the government forever, and I want to resume my business in Dam when things get better.”

Besides government officials and the army, 201 volunteers have participated in the relief.

“I cannot play a big role here, but I want to do what I can for the victims,” said Phurbu Drolma.

The 30-year-old said her team did all kinds of services for the victims, such as bringing food to them, cleaning their tents and helping them carry things.

The death toll in Tibet from the magnitude-7.9 earthquake on April 25 in Nepal reached 25 by the noon of April 30. Four people were still missing and 856 people had been injured.