Serbia’s largest Chinese commodity market, the “70” market, has recently been hit by fire. This market in the capital Belgrade is the “lifeblood” of thousands of Chinese businessmen, many local and nearby countries from the dealers from here, year-round bustling.
After the fire, what happened to the “70” market? How can local overseas Chinese help each other?
“It’s really hard to lose a lot.”
On the evening of August 12, local time, a fire broke out in the “70th” market, which lasted until the early hours of the 13th. “70” market divided into two new and old buildings, housing more than 400 shops, fire is the old building. According to Belgrade police, the area of the fire is about 4000 square meters.
Ye, who is in her mid-60s, works in the wholesale and retail business of small goods in the “70” market, and her store is one of the worst-hit shops. In an interview with Xinhua News Agency, she choked several times.
“Our shop was almost burned out, and a penny was gone, ” Mr. Ye said. A lot of losses, really hard to feel… ”
In 2000, Ye quit her job as a domestic teacher to work in trade in Serbia with her husband and son. The family had hoped to improve their lives by doing business, but they didn’t expect their livelihoods to be unsustainable.
“We have to spend money to eat and live here, but now we have no money, plus the goods are burned out, let alone continue to operate.” She said.
“Pack up and start all over again”
The day after the fire, reporters saw smoke still rising in the market, the ground was strewn with charred cables and melted plastic, covered with water-soaked garbage.
Zhang Jie, executive vice president of the Serbian Association for the Promotion of Peaceful Reunification of China, was at the scene when the fire broke out. He said that many people came back from the field to help maintain order at the scene, to help everyone rescue supplies.
Zhang said the Chinese embassy first contacted the Serbian Interior Ministry to request more firefighters and fire engines. He also thanked local firefighters for their efforts to fight.
The Chinese Embassy in Serbia said in a statement that the Serbian side has sent nearly 130 firefighters and more than 50 fire engines, through more than eight hours of fighting to finally control the fire, “70” market building on the left side of the building was preserved. Preliminary estimates, more than 200 affected merchants, causing major property damage, fortunately no casualties.
Zhang Jie has been doing business in Serbia for more than 25 years, and his shop in the “70” market was also destroyed in the fire. “I’ve been here all these years and I’ve had feelings for ’70. See it was burned a little bit, a little sour in my heart…”
“Either way, we’re going to have to clean up and start all over again.” Zhang said that since the fire, the solidarity between overseas Chinese and the help provided by the Chinese Embassy have warmed everyone’s hearts.
“A lot of people have expressed comfort to the affected merchants by phone and asked for priority to be paid to help them tide over the difficulties.” Zhang Jie said.
Help each other and tide over difficulties together
There are many more stories of local overseas Chinese coming together after the disaster.
In the “70” market, a vegetable shop put up a notice to give free vegetables to the affected merchants, a Chinese dentist wrote on WeChat “Friends Circle”, willing to provide free oral examination and ultrasound dental cleaning services to the affected compatriots …
On August 14, Chinese Ambassador to Serbia Chen Bo held a video conference with representatives of the Serbian Overseas Chinese Chamber of Commerce, the heads of overseas Chinese groups and overseas Chinese, expressing condolences on the major fire in the “70” market and listening carefully to the ideas of the overseas Chinese representatives on the rehabilitation work.
Chen Bo stressed that although we have suffered the double impact of the epidemic and fire, but can not be discouraged, to maintain confidence, the Chamber of Commerce and overseas Chinese groups should continue to play a major role, help each other, study the feasibility of various ways and means to resume business, and safeguard rights and interests in accordance with the law.
The Embassy will actively communicate with all government departments, maintain close contact with all of you, and do its utmost to provide assistance and services within the scope of its responsibilities.