Tireless rescue official honored as hero model

By Yang Cheng| (China Daily)| Updated : 2021-11-19

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Shan Yuhou (second from left) visits a food company in Tianjin to check epidemic prevention work on Feb 20 last year. [Photo/CHINA DAILY]

Shan Yuhou, an emergency management official who died in his dormitory last year in Tianjin, was honored as a first-class hero model in the field at a national-level conference on Nov 5.

Before his death at the age of 58, Shan was vice-chairman of Binhai New Area's committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and Party chief of the coastal area's emergency management bureau.

His passing on the morning of Feb 22 last year made headlines, as his tireless efforts during the COVID-19 epidemic had been noteworthy.

Shan, who had undergone heart surgery and had two stents implanted, ignored his health and often worked for days without rest.

He'd had little rest in his final 24 hours and had taken on various tasks, including finding and assigning epidemic prevention materials, such as face masks, protective suits and goggles, infrared thermometers and disinfectant, for residents and businesses.

His cousin, Du Wenwu, said that while he was collecting Shan's personal belongings, he found a paper among his clothes, which read,"The number of staff members needs to increase from 62 to 92´╝Źurgent!"

His co-worker, Zhang Jinkuan, Party chief of the command center at Binhai's emergency management bureau, said: "Shan and I had a work schedule ... We would call each other at 6:40 am every day to discuss upcoming tasks, while our last daily call or WeChat messages to each other was often at around 2:30 am."

They had discussed the arrangement and collection of emergency materials the night before he died, Zhang said.

He recalled Shan mentioning that the bureau should check with companies about their epidemic prevention material needs, and send them the items in a timely manner.

Tong Juhe, another of Shan's colleagues and who is director of the bureau's investigation office said, "He had been sleeping between two and three hours a day since the epidemic outbreak, and he never went home, living only at the bureau dormitory."

Yang Jian, Shan's wife, said:"During the period, it was hard for me to call him while he was working at the office. He worked for many days without returning home."

Among his most prominent tasks was leading a major emergency rescue operation on Jan 24, the eve of the Spring Festival holiday, last year.

That day, a cruise liner, the Costa Serena, was set to arrive in Tianjin with some 3,700 passengers and 1,100 crew members. The crew told Tianjin port authorities that several people onboard were showing signs of fever.

Upon hearing the news, Shan arranged for medical workers to conduct tests on the ship. After the samples were collected, they were loaded onto a helicopter and flown to the Tanggu Airport nearby.

Special police vehicles waiting there then delivered the samples to local disease prevention authorities.

Though all the passengers tested negative, they were still sent to designated hotels for quarantine.

The Costa Serena control and prevention effort sharply contrasted with others involving cruise liners at sea.

For example, on Feb 3 last year, the Diamond Princess ordered its 3,711 passengers to stay aboard for two weeks after it had returned to Yokohama, Japan.

Nearly 700 passengers were confirmed COVID-19 positive, and six died, according to Japanese broadcaster NHK.

Shan also took part in many other major tasks unrelated to the epidemic.

In 2019, he arranged 108,000 risk prevention inspections at local companies, prompted renovations at 84,000 production sites and closed 487 companies with potential hazards.

In August 2019, when Typhoon Lekima hit Binhai, Shan worked at the bureau's command center for an entire week without leaving.