Humanitarian Health Action

Floods and landslides in China

Situation report 2 -12 August 2010

General Information

Torrential rains and floods hit China beginning at the end of May 2010 and continued until the first week of August. The Yangtze, Yellow and Songhua rivers have exceeded annual high levels. Affected provinces include Guizhou, Hunan, Jiangxi, Zhejiang, Fujian, Guandong, Guangxi, Yunnan, Hubei, Shaanxi, Henan, Jilin, Anhui, Jiangsu, Chongqing, Shanghai and Sichuan. More than 400 million people in over 28 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions were affected.

Rain-triggered mudslides

On 8 August 2010, around 00:00 AM, landslides and mud-rock flows brought about by the heavy rains occurred in Zhouqu County, Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Gansu Province. The mud-rock flow leveled an area of about 5 km long, 300 meters wide and 5 meters deep in the county seat with more than 2 million cubic meters of mud and rocks, severely damaging power, telecommunication and water supply facilities. The mudslides destroyed more than 300 homes and damaged another 700.

Health Impact

Casualties

As of 11 August 2010, the death toll from the landslide in Zhouqu County in northwest China's Gansu Province has risen to 1117 (from 702), with 627 others still missing. A total of 567 survivors have received treatment while 64 seriously injured have been hospitalized.

Health Concerns

Mental health and psychosocial support. Survivors, families of victims and people living in affected areas will need support for them to cope with their experiences. Health responders must have the skills to provide psychosocial support. Responders also undergo stress and extreme experiences during immediate response efforts and must have opportunities for debriefing and support.

Response

Central and local governments have provided tents, quilts, cotton coats, sleeping bags, folding beds, instant food, mineral water, generator and flour.

Ministry of Health Response

The MOH deployed medical teams for rescue, response efforts and disease prevention and control. Epidemic prevention is now priority and there are no reports of disease outbreaks. Pamphlets on health risks and disease prevention have been provided to local residents. The safety of water and food in the area is being ensured. Hospitals and clinics are being revitalized as quickly as possible to cater to the needs of the affected people. The Military Health Department also provided medicines and medical equipment for treatment and disease control.

WHO Response

The World Health Organization is in constant communication with WHO China Country Office and China's Ministry of Health, Health Emergency Response Office (HERO) and China Center for Disease Control (CDC) as well as with other United Nations Agencies for status updates and identification of actual areas for support. Preliminary steps have been taken for the provision of needs to ensure the wellbeing of affected individuals.

Sources
  • Dr. Mukundan Pillay, WHO China
  • China Ministry of Health
  • Xinhua news Agency
  • Relief Web
  • CNN
For more information please contact

WHO China
Dr. Michael O'Leary
WHO Representative in China

WHO China
Dr. Mukundan Pillay
Contact: (8610) 6532-7189 ext: 81284

WHO Regional Office
Dr. Arturo Pesigan
Tel: (632) 528 9810
Fax: (632) 528 9072

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