Volunteers in Jianli county extend their helping hands

Volunteers in Jianli county extend their helping hands
Rescue workers carry a body from a sunken ship in the Jianli section of Yangtze River, Hubei province, China, June 2, 2015.

Heartbroken relatives of the Yangtse River cruise disaster's victims swarmed Jianli county, a riverside town where the disaster happened and they were received by kind help.

More than 1,000 relatives of the passengers and crew members on the Eastern Star ship arrived at Jianli country as of Wednesday, along with more than 4,000 rescuers and 500 medical workers who participated in the search and rescue efforts.

To accommodate them, Jianli government prepared more than 1,200 hotel rooms and organised more than 1,200 government employees to provide one-on-one services.

In addition to government efforts, many locals volunteered to help those coming to Jianli.

Just one hour after a local radio station broadcast a message that the relatives of the victims needed rooms to stay, about 200 residential rooms were offered by locals to them for free.

Car drivers also reached out their helpful hands. Many of the city's 381 taxies and some 1,500 private vehicles with a yellow ribbon tied on them are providing free ride.

"Family members of the victims are already heartbroken. We should not make them feel worse," said Liu Wei, a taxi driver.

Xiao Jianmin bought more than 450 boxes of bottled waters and 60 boxes of instant noodles for the victims' relatives and rescuers.

All these were done spontaneously, said a cab driver surnamed Zhang, adding that calls for relief work by volunteers have flooded instant messaging app WeChat.

One post on the social media said: "Drivers, please cut back on using your cars, and spare the green channel to rescuers; store and hotel owners, please charge less than usual when meeting non-locals... and if possible, show your support to the PLA rescuers... This is the time that Jianli people stand together to comfort the living and mourn the dead."

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