Two years after the earthquake…
Qinghai lies in the northeastern part of the Tibetan Plateau, which formed due to the ongoing collision of the Indian Plate with the Eurasian Plate. The main deformation in this area is crustal shortening, but there is also a component of left lateral strike-slip faulting on major west–east trending structures such as the Kunlun and Altyn Tagh fault systems that accommodate southeastward translation of the Tibetan area.
Due to the rough terrain and the fact that landslides have destroyed the local infrastructure, the initial rescue operations were undertaken by the People’s Armed Police and People’s Liberation Army soldiers of Lanzhou Military Region.The Qinghai provincial government said in a public statement that five thousand tents, 100,000 thick, cotton coats, and heavy blankets were being sent to help survivors cope with the strong winds and near-freezing temperatures of around 6 °C (43 °F).
Monks provided spiritual services and consoling for families of the victims, and performed burial rites. Due to the great number of ethnic Tibetan victims in the quake, local clergy from monasteries said that the traditional sky burial funeral rites would be too difficult to manage, and that the unsanitary conditions meant that the souls of the departed may not reach heaven. A local monk said that it was determined a mass cremation, presided over by local Buddhist monks, would be the most appropriate funeral rite for the victims.The Qinghai provincial Department of Civil Affairs sent out directives that funeral customs for local ethnic minorities must be respected, that the victims themselves must be treated with respect, and for a DNA bank to be set up for bodies who have not yet been identified.