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2008 News Releases




Report 3 - China earthquake

Date : 27 / 05 / 2008
Author : Jim Linton - VK3PC

Situation report #3 on China earthquake

As the disaster recovery efforts continue following China?s most powerful earthquake, the Information Office of the State Council reported (on 26 May) that the death toll had reached 65,080.

Government officials and news media have recognised that when communications failed after the Sichuan earthquake on 12 May, it was amateur radio operators who stepped in to provide vital links.

In the past two weeks there has been more than five million people made homeless. The most in-demand materials and supplies for the disaster area are tents and medicines. Disease prevention is also at a very critical stage.

China Central Television (CCTV) reported on 26 May, "When all other communication means failed, amateur radio operators came out!" An amateur radio emergency communication network was setup and one of the commanders, Liu hu called for amateur radio operators on air to provide services for disaster relief.

Thankfully one main repeater survived during the earthquake, this repeater provided 100km coverage to Mianyang. Amateur radio operators from Chengdu, Shenzhen, He'nan went to the centre of the disaster area, set up repeaters in Beichuan county, and provided various valuable first hand information from the centre.?

The IARU radio society, CRSA said it hoped to report later more detailed information on the role of amateur radio emergency communications in the big earthquake.

In the meantime it advises that the main organiser of local amateur radio traffic, Luo Minglin BY8AA continuously coordinated VHF/UHF communications for a 100 km radius from Chengdu, the capital of southwest China's province of Sichuan.

More repeaters were set up in both Beichuan and Mianyang, among the worst hit areas outside the epicentre, to form an effective amateur radio communication network.

Zhang Zhen BG8DOU reports that right after the earthquake, two ham radio operators drove to the centre of the earthquake area and had a repeater set up by the morning of 13 May.

This repeater enabled the transmission of rescue instructions, status reports and was a main communication channel for public use.

Among the traffic the repeater carried were communications for the Mayor of Mianzhu City, who gave orders to those on the front line rescue and recovery activity.

The CRSA appreciates the support given by the amateur radio community in helping to keep clear the emergency communication frequencies of 7050kHz, 7060kHz and 14270kHz during the critical period after the earthquake.

The CRSA said, "Thanks for the cooperation and efforts made by all amateur radio societies."

Those frequencies are no longer needed for emergency communications, but should a severe aftershock occur, there will be a call by the CRSA for them to be kept clear again.

The radio society also acknowledged having received inquiries and the "warm concerns" of amateur radio societies worldwide.

(Fan Bin BA1RB on behalf of CRSA, via IARU R3 Disaster Communications Committee Chairman Jim Linton VK3PC)


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