International Volunteers Join Fight Against Epidemic

2020-02-05 17:50 505

CHENGDU, China, Feb. 5, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Tongzilin residential community, one of the most concentrated expat communities in Chengdu, with about 4,300 expats from more than 30 countries and regions. Thomas Deshors, 26, is one of the international volunteers participating in the investigation into the epidemic situation in Tongzilin residential community.

Deshors started his "drop-in" visits to a residential community in Chengdu, capital of southwest China's Sichuan Province Friday.He has already mastered his work routine: first, ask the health condition of residents and take their temperature; then, ask them where they have been recently, especially if they have been to Wuhan, capital of central China's Hubei Province and also center of the novel coronavirus outbreak; last but not least, share with them knowledge about protection against the virus and learn about their troubles.

"I think a foreign face is more friendly to foreigners," Deshors said. The community lacks enough staff who can communicate with foreigners in English. Many foreigners living here have thus volunteered to help community workers.

Tongzilin International Community Center, a platform to provide service for international residents, was established in September 2018 and an international volunteer alliance under the center was also founded to enable the expats in the community to participate in the governance of the community, said Zhang Jiarong, Party chief of the community.

By the end of 2019, there were over 50 volunteers from different countries in the alliance. During the ongoing fight against the epidemic, the alliance called on the volunteers to lend a hand.

On Jan. 26, a post online attracted the attention of many foreigners in Chengdu. It read, "urgent need for anti-epidemic volunteers. In response to the recent epidemic development, the community is eager to recruit English-speaking volunteers to carry out anti-epidemic communication for foreign residents." 

Ren Lijuan, a volunteer from Tongzilin Community International Volunteer Service Team who is in charge of the recruitment of volunteers, said about 160 people applied on the night when the online post was published, of whom nearly half were foreigners and many were new faces. On the afternoon of Jan. 27, the community started the drop-in visits.

"Before the visits, we conducted training for the selected Chinese and foreign volunteers and provided them with masks and disposable gloves. In particular, we emphasized that volunteers should first protect themselves and maintain a certain distance from the residents," Ren said.

From Jan. 27 to 29, the volunteers helped conduct the investigation covering most of the foreign residents in the community.

Mario Rodriguez, an Ecuadorian pilot with Sichuan Airlines, just returned to Chengdu from Harbin on Thursday with his wife and three children.

"Everything is good so far. We're taking precautions," said Rodriguez, adding that he and his family members stay at home and have enough food. Though it is difficult to buy masks, his friends and company are offering help.

Similar drop-in visits have been carried out recently in many communities with concentrated numbers of foreigners in the Chengdu high-tech zone and Jinjiang District. Community workers and volunteers have collected the foreigners' demand for masks, disinfectant and other necessities and are trying their best to help.

"We are all joining in, both Chinese or foreigners. I hope that while protecting their health, we can also bring warmth to these foreign friends," said Chen Lirong, director of the Tianhua community residents committee in the Chengdu high-tech zone.

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Source: Tongzilin Residential Community