ASIA NEWS NETWORK
WE KNOW ASIA BETTER
5,000 evacuated from Xinjang blast scene in five minutes
Publication Date : 24-05-2014
More than 100 police and security officers arrived to help the injured and evacuate the area just one minute after Thursday's deadly terrorist attack on a morning market in Urumqi, a police official said on Friday.
"The first police patrol car arrived at the open-air market about 20 seconds after the officer heard the explosion," said Yang Kaizhou, director of Yangzijiang Road police station.
"Together with the 46 security officers from the market, we evacuated more than 5,000 people in five minutes."
Yang said the attack happened when two cars driven at high speed broke through roadblocks used to control traffic at the market. They were then driven side by side in an "S" shape, crushing shoppers. The two vehicles later exploded.
"All of the injured were sent to hospitals in about 10 minutes. A quick response to such attacks saves lives and every second counts," Yang said.
Thursday's attack was the deadliest incident in the city since rioting left 197 dead in July 2009.
Liu Hongxia, director of the medical department at Xinjiang Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital, said she was told she would be needed to give first aid treatment at about 8 am on Thursday and all medical staff at her workplace rushed to their positions within five minutes.
"Many patients had fractures after being hit by the cars and some had even been run over multiple times," Liu said.
Yang said most of the injured were 50 years old and above. If the attack had happened during a weekend, there would have been more casualties because the 400-metre-long market, packed with fresh vegetables and groceries, could attract more than 10,000 people.
"We evacuated the shoppers to three small lanes and seven big compounds, following our contingency plan," Yang said.
"Although they were in shock, the vendors and shoppers were very cooperative."
He said the rapid evacuation was the result of training and drills the police station had provided for the vendors and nearby communities. "We've been educating people since the end of April on where to go and what to do during emergencies."
After the attack, authorities banned drivers from parking within 100 meters of schools in Urumqi.