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Sichuan, China: An Earthquake That Brought Together Local, National, And International Communities Relief Efforts

1600 words - 7 pages

The Sichuan province in mainland china has had a long history of seismic activity. On May 12th, 2008 the village of Wenchuan County located in Sichuan province was struck by an 8.0 magnitude earthquake. According to the State Council Information Office, the causalities from this disaster were approximately 70,000, with approximately 10,000 confirmed to have been school children, whose deaths resulted from 7,000 collapsed classrooms and 18,000 more individuals, were reported missing (Teets, 330). The earthquake which struck Wenchuan County resulted in bringing together relief efforts from local, national, and international communities. A few examples are: Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), Volunteer crews, Military efforts, Sichuan airlines, Red-Cross and many donations from international communities. These relief efforts, a result of strong government communication also, led to strengthening the devastated village and the nation of China. The involvement in recovery efforts strengthens civil society’s individual capacity through mass networks of volunteers and donors, learning new skills in project management, and demonstrating to the government potentially positive roles the community can do. Relief efforts by groups help to build trust and connect potential volunteers and donors on behalf of foreign governing institutions. This essay aims to discuss these efforts in greater detail and provide numerous examples of successful recovery projects in Sichuan province.
The earthquake which devastated Wenchuan County was a result of stress built up between the colliding Indian plate and Eurasian plate tectonics. This disaster left more than 4.8 million residents homeless in this village, ironically the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics were to take place three months after and no venues were damaged during this earthquake (Ge, 18). According to Zhang et al., who stated that, “the [Chinese government] created the mobilized emergency response system, which in this event after two hours led to 10,630 medical first responders reporting to the affected regions”. The earthquake struck in the afternoon where most causalities occurred in highly populated regions, where many were at work (Zhang, 853-854). As a result of strong government communication, immediate relief efforts were brought together to provide basic necessities such as food, clothing, and set up thousands of temporary refugee shelters. Sichuan’s earthquake damages were a result of poor infrastructure practices, specifically schools. Consequently, the highest percentage of deaths accounted for in this disaster was specifically children in school. Relief efforts made by the Chinese government and the outpour support of the international communities, helped with restoring the local communities with improved structures and developed urban-rural sustainable developments. However, after two weeks, international communities relief donations exceeded $30 billion yuan (Shieh and...

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