A college girl successfully helped the Chinese air force to send relief effort, by posting on the Internet, Chinese news reported on May15th, 3 days after the magnitude 7.9 earthquake in Wenchuan County.
The girl, a student at Culinary Institute of Sichuan, is originally from Wenchuan. After knowing all roads to Wenchuan had been cut off by the earthquake and landslide that followed, and rescuing effort had major trouble to reach the epicenter by air due to the mountainous landscape of this valley county, she realized that a construction field near her village was probably a good location for helicopter landing. Trying to help, she posted this information online and included her contact information on May 15th around 10AM. Her post was quickly transferred to all major Chinese forums. Hours later the girl received a phone call from the emergency headquarter, asking for more detailed description. By 4PM the headquarter had confirmed the location would be used for landing.
After the earthquake hit Sichuan, Chinese Internet users have shown immense concern over the life loss and rescue work. Calling for donations, self-organizing volunteer groups, spreading information, suggesting rescuing approaches, all web portals and forums have been flooded with earthquake related articles and posts. A lot of – if not most – bloggers turned to focus on the earthquake as well. Most users gave positive remark to the government’s quick response.
Sichuan, the province in mountains, is famous for its difficult roads. After the quake made transportation to some places impossible, helicopter became the only choice for the rescue force. However, China does not have enough of them, especially heavier ones. The central government had issued an emergency plan to temporarily seize some business owned copters. Despite China’s repetitive requests, U.S. government still maintains a ban on exportation of heavy helicopters, a common tool for disaster relief, to China.