An Inside Look at Our Novel Coronavirus Relief Efforts

National Headquarters  |  February 10, 2020
Tzu Chi volunteers prepare supplies for direct air cargo to China. Troy Kung (in gray hoodie) helps make all the arrangements. Photo by Mary Keh

By Dilber Shatursun

The new coronavirus, or 2019-nCoV, has increased in both spread and deadliness, not just in China, but around the world. Tzu Chi volunteers in the United States are working diligently to gather the supplies that residents and aid workers in China need to help prevent further infection. But, with a country that has so many cities in lock-down, and with so many methods of transportation now restricted, volunteers must leverage as many connections as it can. Here’s how:

Bingbing Li (in black vest) drops off masks and respirators to our Alhambra clinic. Photo by Mary Keh

1. Getting the Goods

Facing an increased demand for surgical masks and N95 respirators, new local volunteer Bingbing Li helped Tzu Chi place an order for 5,000 surgical masks and 848 N95 respirators. Being a medical professional himself, he was compelled to help our volunteers secure the crucial items and deliver it personally to the Tzu Chi Medical Center in Alhambra, CA on the evening of February 4, 2020.

Tzu Chi medical volunteers help prepare the shipment to China.
Photos by Mary Keh

2. Packing for Shipment

The supplies were then prepared the next day for international shipping. But, given the rapid nature of the virus’ spread, how could we ensure the goods we were sending could get to where they needed to go and on time?

Luckily, Troy Kung, who works in international shipping and cargo, offered to pick up the supplies and have it shipped via air cargo for free. He shared that “thanks to Tzu Chi, I feel good that we can help our own people.”

Photos courtesy of Eric Li

3. Meanwhile, in China

Tzu Chi staffers who had travelled to cities in China now under lockdown have been unable to leave and return to the US. This is the case for many across the United States who travelled for work, leisure, or to visit their families for Lunar New Year celebrations. Eric Li from our Media Production Center was able to send photos from friends across China in Wuhan, Shanghai, and Shenzhen. The chilling photos show once bustling hubs of people and transportation turned into ghost towns.

Nanjing, China. Photos by Eric Li

In Nanjing, too, residents take precautions to the max.

The cargo gets processed through China Southern Airlines. Photos courtesy of HuiChing Su and Jennifer Chien

4. Cargo Flight is Ready

After some roadblocks with shipping procedures, our supplies were finally on their way as of Friday, February 7. 

With your help, we can do more. Learn how clicking the link below. Together, let’s help slow the spread of the 2019-nCoV.

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