Feature: Chinese rescue team races against time to relieve plight of cyclone-hit Mozambicans

Source: Xinhua| 2019-04-03 18:01:31|Editor: Li Xia
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BEIRA, Mozambique, April 3 (Xinhua) -- When a 65-member Chinese rescue team arrived in the Idai-hit Mozambique on March 25, there were only four days left before the phase of search and rescue work officially ended.

Many team members were worried that it might be too late to offer much help, but for a vulnerable country with its impoverished people suffering from such an unprecedented catastrophe, every bit of help counts.

Shortly after their arrival, the team started to evaluate the situation in cyclone-stricken areas, visit temporary shelters and accommodation centers, and deliver equipments and medicines, food and drinking water to local communities, schools and orphanages.

They provided sanitizing services for the shelters, densely-populated neighborhoods, residences and factories, the work area of international organizations, and even the houses where people infected with cholera live.

Most important of all, the medical staff of the team did their best to offer treatment and consultation to the sick and wounded to relieve their suffering as much as possible.

It was the first time for 55-year-old Shao Junyan, the only pediatrician as well as the oldest team member, to offer medical help on foreign soil.

Since their arrival, Shao and her medical team have helped more than 1,000 victims with Idai-related or other wounds and diseases, many of whom were women and children.

"The children are so wretched and pitiful that most of them couldn't even have the basic healthcare and living condition," Shao told Xinhua with sympathy, recalling a child who had been suffering from parotid cyst for five years without getting even a little bit medical treatment.

"Most of the medicines we have at hand are for acute upper respiratory infection, acute gastritis and wounds due to the disaster, and for those who had chronic diseases or needed surgery, we did what we can to alleviate the symptoms and suggested them go to hospital," said a doctor from Shao's team.

A 16-year-old local teenager, Alberto Elias, went to the Chinese medical tent set up at Manga Loforte Elementary School in Beira to get treatment for his leg, which was hurt when he tried to jump over a puddle but failed.

"I like the treatment, and it is good help at this time when we were hit by the cyclone, because there are a lot of people with different problems and the hospitals are busy," said Elias.

Ana Inacio, a 21-year-old local who had a festering wound on her shank, went to the Chinese doctors for three times in two locations to get her wound cleaned, debrided and bound up.

"The first and second time I got their help were when I was in that shelter, Manga Loforte Elementary School, and then I was transferred to Estoril zone here by the government," said Inacio.

Inacio said when she saw the same tent was set up in another accommodation center right after she was transferred, she decided to seek help from them again, and the doctor turned out to be the same person who treated her days ago, four miles away.

Roughly some 5,000 displaced people were taking shelter at Inacio's center. In front of the Chinese medical tent, there was a long queue of people waiting for health check, consultation, basic treatment and medication.

China's rescue team donated some 700,000 U.S. dollars of disaster-relief equipment, including rescue kits, hospital supplies, medications, folding beds and tents, to health authorities of Mozambique on Tuesday in Beira, central province of Sofala, the region hardest hit by the devastating tropical cyclone Idai.

Ussene Issa, national director of medical assistance of the Mozambican Health Ministry, said China's donations and aid helped relieve the sector's pressure in response to the current emergency.

"China has not only offered the donations we are receiving today, but has also been involved in the medical care for Cyclone Idai victims, distributing food and water. What we gained from China is necessary support and important reinforcement," said the director, expressing the government's gratitude.

The leader of China's rescue team, Zhao Ming, said at the donation ceremony that although his team was to return home, they left the best equipments they had to the Mozambican people.

"We leave kits for medical care to help Mozambican people, unfortunately we shall leave, but we have tried our best by giving all of what we can," he said.

Idai made landfall on the night of March 14 in central Mozambique, leaving at least 518 people dead, 59,910 houses destroyed, and water and sanitation infrastructures compromised, official statistics showed.