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December 31, 2012

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Home » Metro » Public Services

Migrants outnumber beggars at cold shelters

THE city's rescue stations increased patrols at bus stations, bridges and buildings in search of homeless people over the weekend as the city's mercury dived, and some reported a big increase in the number of people they received.

Most of the people the stations received during the latest cold snap were aspiring migrant workers who were looking for a job or otherwise not settled in the city, while only a few were beggars, said Zhou Zheng, director of the city's main facility, the Shanghai Rescue Station.

Some walked into the stations themselves, asking for help, some were spotted during patrols and the rest were seen by residents who called the city's civil affairs hotline, Zhou said.

As Shanghai Daily found when accompanying a patrol earlier this month, many homeless would rather curl up in different corners of the city rather than accept help from rescue stations since they want to stay and make money in the city instead of being given free train tickets to their hometowns.

Continuous persuasion from shelter workers often fell on deaf ears.

"We don't want anybody to be frozen to death, but we don't force anyone to the stations," said Zhou.

The rescue station in the Pudong New Area said it received 13 people between 12am on Saturday and 12am yesterday, compared with two to three people it receives daily on average. Homeless people received by the 17 temporary district or county-level shelters are sent within a day or two to the Shanghai Rescue Station.

The homeless people would leave once rail tickets bought by the Shanghai Rescue Station are ready.

Meanwhile, animals at the Shanghai Zoo are given extra care for the cold. The amount of food is increased and food rich in calories is added. Giant pandas and golden monkeys are fed milk, eggs, peanuts and dates.

The recipes of animals were changed slightly during this cold snap, officials said. Giant pandas also were fed cakes mixed with minced meat, said a zoo official surnamed Zheng.

Some animals that are extremely sensitive to temperature changes such as the grey lesser mouse lemur and sloth are in areas with both heated air and floor heating that are kept above 20 degrees Celsius.


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