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Distributing food supplies in the quake zone

China, April 22, 2010

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  <span class="field-credit">
    Yue Yao/Mercy Corps  </span>
    A young quake survivor taking home emergency food supplies from our local partner’s distribution. Mercy Corps’ Yue Yao was on site to help with relief supply distribution in Qinghai over the last several days. Photo: Yue Yao/Mercy Corps
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  <span class="field-credit">
    Yue Yao/Mercy Corps  </span>
    Digging out a new path for a food supply truck en route to an emergency camp for displaced earthquake survivors. Extreme weather, icy roads and heavy traffic have made access tough in Jiegu town. Photo: Yue Yao/Mercy Corps
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  <span class="field-credit">
    Mercy Corps  </span>
    Our joint distribution point for emergency food relief. The team worked throughout the day and evening and provided much needed local style food items for more than 1,000 Tibetan survivors. Photo: Mercy Corps
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  <span class="field-credit">
    Yue Yao/Mercy Corps  </span>
    A Tibetan family receiving a pack of emergency food supplies. Photo: Yue Yao/Mercy Corps

Please note: this is the third dispatch piece by Yue Yao, Program Manager with Mercy Corps China, who is currently in Qinghai. I am receiving and posting his notes while he's in the field.

It was a big day today.

I helped our local partner with two of their emergency distributions, the first being in the morning. The heavy road traffic last night forced us to postpone the first distribution until this morning.

It was a small size food distribution targeting 120 people living in the Minzhu Lu temporary housing camp, which we assessed yesterday. Before the distribution took place, our local coordinator provided a very specific list of survivors, with family names and the number of people in each family. We also viewed information regarding the number of people these families lost in the earthquake.

This afternoon, we served 1,007 people living in a camp near Yushu Park. It was a very tough distribution, since the camp was not very well organized and lacked a camp leader to take charge of the event. We heard the community had a pretty desperate struggle earlier during another distribution. While this is completely understandable after an emergency, when survivors are desperate, we wanted to do things right. We were a little worried about how we could efficiently and safely distribute this load of much-needed food — our truck had roughly 9,000 vegetables, including potatoes, carrots and greens.

When we encountered damaged and crowded road conditions, we re-grouped and set our “Plan B” into action: we had to dig out a new path for our food supply truck. We managed to arrive in the camp and then we set up a secure distribution line with a large group of local survivors.

By 8:30 that evening, we had managed to complete the full distribution. It wasn’t until we had all gone back to our operating base that we realized how exhausted we were. Everyone said the same thing before lights out though — we did today this for 1,007 courageous survivors.

This is a great team.