Feeling charitable? That’s fine—but please stay at home.
In the immediate aftermath of the quake, hundreds of volunteers from across the country traveled swiftly to the site of the quake with the goal of doing good works. One major effect of their presence, though, was car-clogged roads, some of which had already been blocked or reduced to muddy swirls of broken rubble in the aftermath of the quake, which felled tens of thousands of buildings and left more than 2,400 injured.
On Wednesday, state broadcaster CCTV echoed the State Council’s message, saying that authorities needed to dissuade “non-professional rescue organizations, volunteers, tourists etc. from going to the disaster zone.” Doing so, CCTV said, would support the work of quake rescuers.
State media has urged those wanting to assist with the quake relief effort to consider making monetary contributions instead of rushing to Yunnan. Similar outpourings of volunteerism have been blamed for hindering relief efforts in China in the past, notably during the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, which killed some 87,000 people. In addition to traffic jams, such volunteers also need food and water and can sometimes be a burden on already stretched supplies of the same.
Still, according to official figures, at least 650 volunteers have flooded the disaster zone since the quake struck on Sunday afternoon, includingmany decked out with their own uniforms and equipment.