Street patrols to save homeless from arctic blast

As the arctic cold hit the city, rescue station officials have stepped up their campaign to protect those who are in urgent need and call on the public to join rescue efforts.
Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

Two officers of Jing’an District use grid management system looking out for those who are in need.

Officials from rescue stations across the city have stepped up street patrols to see whether there are homeless people and beggars who need help as the city’s temperatures plummeted yesterday. 

The 24-hour intensive street patrols jointly conducted by police, urban management and civil affairs authorities in key areas on ice-cold days aim to help people, particularly the homeless, the disabled, beggars, minors, and seniors in the city to get through cold winter, officials said. 

Homeless people and beggars are provided with free meals, clothing, accommodation, medical treatment and are able to enjoy a hot shower at rescue stations. Free tickets to help them to return home are also offered.

For those who don’t want to go to rescue stations, free hot water, instant noodles, and quilts are distributed, and cards containing contact details of rescue stations are also attached in case they need help. 

Since mid-November when the campaign was launched, nearly 3,160 homeless and beggars have come to rescue stations or have been provided with quilts and food in the city, according to the Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau. The campaign will run through March 15. 

The Shanghai rescue station is using new technologies such as face recognition and DNA matching to identify homeless people and help them return to their families, offering them tickets and transportation aid. 

Residents, particularly sanitation workers, bus drivers, cabbies and night-shift security guards are encouraged to call 110, 962200 and 12319 if they notice homeless people and beggars who need help on streets and participate in emergency rescue, which includes incentives offered by authorities.

Jing’an District is using grid management system looking out for needy people.

“There are 246 roads in our district, and 65 key spots are closely detected with real time image screens,” said You Xiuguo, deputy director of the district grid management center.

“At areas such as under bridges and tunnels where homeless people and beggars gather, we conduct patrols every hour,” he said. 

At the intersection of Wuning Road and Zhenbei Road, a homeless person from Henan Province who was resting under elevated road was spotted and offered a quilt and help. He agreed to officers invitation to a rescue station where he also received food from them.

Senior homes across the city have also stepped up precautions against the arctic cold that sweeps the city. They have increased the number of quilts, clothing and blankets they give away to protect seniors from the freezing weather conditions. Night patrols have been increased at senior care homes, which keep air conditioning on for long hours. 

To prevent flu, senior homes open windows regularly and families who visit are asked to wash hands and sterilize before they are allowed into facilities.


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