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Team travels from afar to join relief work

China Daily)  13:39, April 24, 2013  

Students in Longmen town, Lushan county, welcome rescue vehicles on Monday. [Photo/China Daily]

Group from Tibet makes journey to hard-hit Longmen township

At about 6 am on Monday, as a drizzle fell, Sitenpo started a new day by rushing to a tent near the Longmen town government to await a daily meeting following Saturday's earthquake.

The meeting involved leaders of rescue teams in the town, while Sitenpo's task was to keep residents in order, allocate supplies to villagers unable to come to the tent, and pitch more tents.

Sitenpo, in his 40s, from Heishui county in the Aba Tibetan autonomous prefecture, Sichuan province, took his team of about 180 rescuers to the town, more than 500 km from his hometown, on Sunday morning after a five-hour drive.

More than 90 percent of the rescuers are from the Tibetan ethnic group and they decided to go to the disaster area without hesitation, according to Sitenpo, who added that 25 percent also took part in rescue work five years ago when a magnitude-8 quake hit Wenchuan county in the province, killing more than 69,000 people.

"We have experience, and it's our duty to help residents in dangerous conditions, no matter what ethnic group we come from," he said hoarsely.

Sitenpo had only slept for about three hours after the quake struck on Saturday and looked exhausted. But he told China Daily the rescue work is his priority.

"I cannot sleep because new tasks are arranged at any time and we have to keep villagers safe during constant aftershocks," he said.

Twenty rescuers are responsible for keeping the villagers in order, about 80 help them pitch tents and the rest are in charge of seeking missing residents in villages near the town.

"When we received our instructions on Saturday night, lots of rescuers wanted to come, but in view of the terrible road conditions we selected the experienced ones," Sitenpo added.

The team started work at 7 am after arriving at the scene, but most rescuers woke earlier, carrying supplies for villagers and clearing rubbish from the ground.

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(Editor:LiangJun、Yao Chun)


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