China's Earthquake: An IFAW Perspective
The International Fund for Animal Welfare is working on the deployment of one of the largest response teams we've ever sent to aid people and animals in China after the devastating earthquakes there this month. Grace Ge Gabriel, Asia Regional Director for IFAW was in China during the disaster and filed the following diaries. Our collective hearts go out to all those who lost friends, family and we continue to work to speed the Chinese communities recovery.
May 12th, 2008
I was sitting at my desk in the IFAW office on the 9th floor of a 25 floor building in Beijing, suddenly felt myself swaying uncontrollably. So much so that I was feeling dizzy. Wondering if I was sick, then saw the window shade cord is also swaying. Earthquake! Several colleagues also came to the same conclusion. “We should get out of the building”.
People from higher floors are already coming down the stairs. Everyone quietly and quickly descended. The entire office building was evacuated within what seems like eternity yet only a few minutes. Standing on the solid ground, everyone started calling family and friends.
A call to China’s Seismology Center confirmed the earthquake. The epicenter is in Sichuan.
Sichuan is one of the most densely populated provinces in China. If Beijing felt the quake at 1500 miles away, we shudder to think what it would be like in Sichuan!
As soon as we got back into the building, we started contacting IFAW’s grantees and partners in Sichuan. The lines are dead or busy. Not until late afternoon, we finally heard from the Qiming small animal protection association, an IFAW grantee in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan. We are ok and our animals are ok. Later that evening, a veterinarian friend that works at China’s premier panda research center also text message back to say that the center in Chengdu is intact, but Woloon Nature Reserve, closer to the epicenter is still out of contact.