Archive for the ‘Facilities reconstruction’ Category

Clowns Without Borders – tour report, part 2

Friday, April 10th, 2009

The following is a second journal entry from Becky Priebe, who, as Becky Hoops took part in the recent ‘Clown Trauma Tour.’

200903 Clowns Sans Frontieres Sichuan Tour 2009

See also Part 1 for a report on Clowns Sans Frontieres’ tour of Sichuan.

China Earthquake Tour, Part 2

The second half of our tour took place in a city called Mianzhu.  This city, 2 hours north of Chengdu, was gravely affected by the earthquake.  At first glance we immediately  saw small signs of damage: cracked buildilngs, random piles of bricks, almost empty river beds (dams that controlled the rivers had burst during the earthquake), but the most obvious sign was the thousands of rows of temporary housing and temporary schools, on the outskirts of the city.
This “temporary” city, made of white and blue metal, consisted of corrugated retangle row housing, forming a completely new city… like a refuge camp within the country’s own borders.  Conditions are basic: electricity, no heating, no running water and no windows.  There are more than a million people currently living in these conditions.  They are no longer receiving governement aid and most are separated from their family networks.  In China, family, community and work networks are very important, many earthquake victims are left without this support system.

Most of the shows we did in Mianzhu were in one of the temporary schools.  There were about 10 000 children attending this school, so we did multiple shows at the same school for a few days.  The children  were between the ages of 5 and 16, and shows were for between 400 and 1200 kids at a time.  By the end of the week we were had apparently earned a somewhat disconcerning rockstar status…. for those who are curious: yes, 1000 Chinese teenagers who all want an autograph at the same time, is a bit intimidating.

In Mianzhu we also did shows for a retirement home and in the temporary housing project for those who happened to be there.  The elderly reacted just as strongly as the children, with a bit less pushing for autographs at the end.  One man began yelling, or what I perceived at yelling, at me before we started a show.  I was intimated and thought that he didn’t want us there, he seemed agressive and upset.  Upon receiving traslation, we realized that he was expressing his apologies that we should see such an ugly part of the country and that he was happy we had come.  After he saw me two-person-hula-hooping with a stern, young police officer he was even more happy we had come.

The day that hit me the hardest was when we visited the city of rubble where all of the displaced people had lived, worked and attended school.  For the first time since we had arrived in China, it was quiet.  There were no people in streets selling fruit, cheap clothing and plastic toys, no herds of school children, there were no traffic jams or honking horns.  But within the disturbing silence, if you listened carefully, you could still hear the millions of people screaming as their homes and schools collapsed upon them.  Among the rubble we saw toys, stuffed animals, baby shoes; unsettling reminders of  children crying and whimpering under mountains of rubble, wondering if they would be rescued in time. Or relatives, crying out to loved ones for days and weeks, with the chances of their survival dwindling with each hour.  This day hit me hard.  It made me realise in a very tangible way what these “refugees”, we have been performing for, had been through.  It fed me with a heightened desire to make the children laugh, to bring joy and smiles to the people.  My ridiculous complaints about the food and cold weather began to seem  insignificant and frivolous compared with the grim realities these displaced people had lived through and are continuing to face.

One collapsed school we visited was reduced to rubble in seconds, killing 3000 students instantly.  Some parents lost their only child; with the “One Child Policy” in China, families are legally restricted from having more than one child; couples are sometimes sterilized after their first child is born.

The government is not really giving much money or aid to these temporary cities.  Maybe I don’t understand the issue in its entirety, but I am still somewhat enraged when I think back to the massive expenditures of the recent Olympics in Beijing.  There is also a theory that the numerous dams built in the area contributed to weakening the fault line. There are so many issues like these that seem to become increasingly complex upon deeper research and investigation.  It is really touchy for any Chinese people to say negative things about the government; even when we had translaters it was difficult to know how people really felt.

The last show we did was in a school for children that had lived in the hardest hit city of WenChuan.  These kids were, for some reason or another displaced over 6 hours from their families to live in a vacant factory.  The kids were mostly teenagers of minority background.  They loved the show and we even won over the slightly reluctant principal.  This show, and one other show we did during this tour, was in collaboration with an organization called “Sichuan Earthquake Relief”.  This non-governmental oganisation (NGO) has done and is still doing some really phenomenal work in the quake stricken communities accross the province.  For more information on this NGO please visit:

For those who are interested in statistics of the aftermath of the quake (as of June 2008, stats obtained from Sim’s Cozy Guesthouse):
69 197 deaths
374, 176 people were injured
12, 222 missing
7, 789,100 houses were totally collapsed
24, 590,000 houses were damaged
15, 147,400 survivors had been transferred (mostly to temporary housing units, I described earlier)
Up to 46 million people were estimated to have been affected.

See first part of Becky’s report here, and her website, for more.

20090401: Xinhua: Rebuilding of school destroyed in Sichuan quake to start on 1st anniversary

Monday, April 6th, 2009

Rebuilding of school destroyed in Sichuan quake to start on 1st anniversary 2009-04-01 14:56:36
Special Report: Reconstruction After Earthquake

MIANYANG, Sichuan, April 1 (Xinhua) — The reconstruction of Beichuan Middle School, one of the schools that sustained the most damage in last year’s earthquake in China’s southwestern Sichuan Province, will start May 12, the first anniversary of the earthquake, officials said Wednesday.
The new school, mostly funded by donations from Chinese all over the world, will be built in Beichuan’s new county seat, said Liu Qi, an official with the All-China Federation of Returned Overseas Chinese (ACFROC), which was in charge of aiding the rebuilding.
Officials will choose a design from submissions by leading universities including Tsinghua and Tongji as well as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Hong Kong University, he said.
More than 1,300 of the school’s 2,900 students and teachers were killed or left missing in the rubble of the collapsed buildings in the Wenchuan 8.0-magnitude earthquake. Surviving students have attended classes in temporary pre-fab structures since shortly after the disaster.
Overseas Chinese have donated nearly 200 million yuan (29 million U.S. dollars) since August when the donation campaign began, Liu said.
The new school will cover about 13 hectares and is expected to enroll more than 5,000 students.
An ACFROC official arrived in Sichuan Tuesday and will work with the local government on construction, he said.
The reconstruction of Beichuan County, one of the worst-hit areas in the quake, began in February. The new seat is between Yong’an Township and Anchang Township, about 23 km from the former county seat.

20090401: Xinhua: Official, expert explain plans for controversial quake museum

Monday, April 6th, 2009

Official, expert explain plans for controversial quake museum 2009-04-01 20:17:26

Special Report: Reconstruction After Earthquake

CHENGDU, April 1 (Xinhua) — A public controversy over spending on a proposed earthquake museum in southwest China’s Sichuan Province has prompted officials to come forward and defend the plans.
The 2.3-billion-yuan (338 million-U.S.-dollar) plan reported by local media comprised costs of other projects in addition to the Beichuan County Earthquake Museum, near the epicenter of last year’s May 12 quake, said Lin Jizhong, deputy director of the county’s Culture and Tourism Bureau Wednesday.
The museum itself would only cost 135 million yuan (20 million U.S. dollars), said Lin.
The news of the plan provoked a public outcry on the Internet after local newspapers reported in late March.
Many people contended that a museum was necessary, but as the province was in dire need of money for reconstruction, investing such a huge amount in the museum was unwise.
Wu Changfu, head of the Shanghai-based project planning expert group which outlined the budget, said, “The money was not used solely for construction of the museum building. The environmental protection work and road construction will also be included in the plan.”
“The feasibility report of the museum is being drafted,” Wu said.
Lin said the planned museum was not just an exhibition building, but encompassed the remnants of the old county seat, and traces left by secondary disasters such as mud-rock flows and quake lakes.
The natural scenery of the Tangjiashan quake lake area and culture of the Qiang ethnic minority would also feature in the attraction.
The entire project covered 8 square kilometers, with the Beichuan Middle School at the center, Lin said.
More than 80,000 people were confirmed dead or missing after the quake.
Premier Wen Jiabao suggested when he was in Beichuan after the quake that a museum should be erected.
Lin said construction was scheduled to start later this year in fall went smoothly.
“We hope the museum can bring more revenue to local people,” he said. “The dead are dead, but we hope the living can live better lives.”

20090403: Xinhua: China’s quake-hit Sichuan aims to finish most rebuilding by 2010

Monday, April 6th, 2009

China’s quake-hit Sichuan aims to finish most rebuilding by 2010 2009-04-03 10:57:58

Special Report: Reconstruction After Earthquake
CHENGDU, April 3 (Xinhua) — Southwest China’s Sichuan Province said it would accelerate post-quake rebuilding in an effort to finish most of the work by September 2010, a year ahead of schedule.
The goal is to complete 85 percent of the reconstruction projects and ensure “housing and employment for each family,” according to a provincial meeting for accelerating reconstruction held Thursday.
The completion targets cover more than 90 percent of transport projects, 98 percent of power grids and 99 percent of public service projects such as medical care.
The meeting said 85 percent of the rebuilding work in worst-hit areas, and all work except for some major projects in less-affected areas, would be completed by September 2010.
Reconstruction of rural housing will be completed at the end of this year, with that in townships and cities to be finished before May 2010.
Students who now attend classes in temporary building are to be back in permanent structures by next spring.
The magnitude-8.0 quake that hit southwest China, centered in Wenchuan, Sichuan, on May 12 last year, killed more than 69,000 people. It also left nearly 18,000 missing, more than 374,000 injured and millions homeless.
The Sichuan government estimated post-quake rebuilding will cost about 1.6 trillion yuan (235 billion U.S. dollars)

20090309: New York Times: Chinese Official Defends Construction of Schools Felled in Quake

Monday, March 9th, 2009

March 9, 2009
Chinese Official Defends Construction of Schools Felled in Quake

HONG KONG — A vice governor of the Chinese province hardest hit by the earthquake last May said Sunday that many schools collapsed then because of the strength of the 7.9 magnitude quake, and not because of shoddy construction.
Wei Hong, one of the eight vice governors of Sichuan Province, also declined to release the number of schoolchildren who were killed, saying that the exact tally still had not been calculated almost 10 months later, news agencies reported from Beijing. Mr. Wei spoke to reporters on the sidelines of the National People’s Congress there.
State news media have reported that the quake left more than 80,000 dead and thousands more missing. The most controversial aspect of the quake has been the damage to 14,000 classrooms, half of which collapsed entirely.
Heavy damage to schools, some of which fell down in neighborhoods where other structures remained standing, has prompted accusations from local residents that the schools suffered from what many Chinese have termed “tofu” construction.

Epicentre location as shown in NY Times

Epicentre location as shown in NY Times

Local and provincial officials have responded angrily to criticisms of school construction practices, and particularly to suggestions from some parents that there might have been corruption involved in the construction process for schools. The local authorities have silenced many parents who lost children in the earthquake, through a combination of compensation payments and intimidation.
A mother whose 11-year-old daughter died in the earthquake said by telephone on Sunday that “of course it was tofu construction that led to the collapse of the school.”
The mother, who requested anonymity because of continued government efforts to discourage public discussion of the collapse of the schools, said that she believed that the government must have a tally of schoolchildren who died in the earthquake, since communities in her area were well aware of death tolls at their local schools.
Mr. Wei was promoted to vice governor on June 1, less than three weeks after the quake on May 12, part of a series of shifts in provincial leaders that followed the quake but that may have been scheduled to some extent before the natural disaster.
The Beijing authorities sent their own committee of experts to Sichuan Province after the earthquake to assess construction practices there.
The chairman of the committee, Ma Zongjin, said at a news conference in Beijing last September that because of a rush to build schools during China’s economic boom in recent years, more than 1,000 damaged schools had suffered from at least one of two shortcomings: they were built extremely close to the fault line and were destroyed with other structures near them, or they were poorly built.
But detailed results of that investigation have not been released.

20090308: Xinhua: Student toll still under calculation ten months after earthquake

Monday, March 9th, 2009

Student toll still under calculation ten months after earthquake
2009-03-08 10:28:12

Wei Hong, deputy governor of Sichuan, speaks at a press conference March 8, 2009. (

Wei Hong, deputy governor of Sichuan, speaks at a press conference March 8, 2009. (

Special Report: Reconstruction After Earthquake

BEIJING, March 8 (Xinhua) – The number of students killed in the devastating May 12 earthquake in southwestern China last year is still under calculation, an official said.
“We will publicize the result after we finish the calculation,”said Wei Hong, deputy governor of Sichuan, who is attending the annual session of the Chinese legislature.

The student toll is a question relating to the number of people killed in the quake, Wei said, adding that the calculation must be carried out according to relevant regulations enacted by relevant ministries and government departments.
“Therefore it is a very complicated process. We are still investigating into and checking the number of the dead and missing. It is not easy for us to tell how many students were exactly killed in the earthquake before the accurate number of al lthe victims is confirmed,” he said at a press conference.
Earlier reports said that thousands of students had been killed in the magnitude 8.0 quake and officials were believed to bear some responsibility in relation to shoddy construction of school buildings.
After the earthquake, the government had pledged greater efforts to investigate why many schools crumbled while nearby buildings stayed erect.
It is estimated that about 87,000 people died in the earthquake.
Wei said that the province will have restored 95 percent of the collapsed school buildings by the end of 2009. Half of the campuses are now under construction in the 39 most severely-hit counties.
The province has stepped up the re-building of residential houses for farmers and citizens. “We will ensure everybody to move into new houses by the end of this year,” he said.
He added that there have been no outbursts of epidemics nor famine in the quake region. “As no social unrest was reported, we did not take any special security measures,” he said

20090303: Xinhua: Macao SAR to finance reconstruction projects

Monday, March 9th, 2009

Macao SAR to finance 10 reconstruction projects
2009-03-03  来源:新华网

On Tuesday 3rd March 2009, Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) signed an agreement with China’s quake-hit Sichuan province, which will see the SAR finance 10 reconstruction projects in Guangyuan city, Sichuan, according to a press release from the SAR government.

The 10 projects include the rebuilding of roads, bridges, river embankment, and sewage treatment works in Guangyuan city, for which the SAR government will allocate 687 million yuan (102 million U.S. dollars), according to the press release.
The agreement was signed in Sichuan’s capital Chengdu by Chui Sai On, the Macao SAR’s Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture, and representatives of the Sichuan Provincial Government.
The 8.0-magnitude quake centered in Sichuan’s Wenchuan County, which took place on May 12 last year, left more than 69,000 people dead, 374,000 injured, 18,000 missing and millions homeless, according to official statistics.
The government of the Macao SAR has already signed a general agreement with the Sichuan provincial government, under which the SAR will finance the reconstruction projects in the quake-stricken province located in south western China. According to the agreement, Macao SAR will spend an amount of 5.5 billion patacas (688 million U.S. dollars) funding the rebuilding projects in some counties of Sichuan.
The Macao SAR government initiated the financing of seven reconstruction projects in Guanyuan last year, and, with the agreement to finance the above 10 projects signed, a total of 17 Macao-financed rebuilding projects in Guangyuan have been launched so far, according to the press release.
After completing the financial arrangements of the 17 projects, the SAR government said it would continue to assess another 19 rebuilding projects mainly of education and sports facilities.

20090304: 6.3 billion RMB shortfall in funds for reconstruction of medical and sanitation facilities

Monday, March 9th, 2009

四川灾区医疗重建资金缺口63亿 工程进度缓慢


According to a teleconference of Sichuan medical-sanitation institute on 3rd March 2009, there was a 6.3 billion RMB shortfall in funds for the reconstruction of medical and sanitation facilities. By 27th Feb, only 522 projects had been completed, which accounted for 12.65% of the initial plan. According to Chen Wenhua, vice-governor of Sichuan government, progress in the reconstruction of medical-sanitation facilities has been relatively slow, compared to other public facilities.
“With the current progress, it is rather difficult to complete all these reconstruction projects in only 10 months, and it will get harder and harder,” said Chen.  By 27th February 2009, in the 1252 projects that had already received capital from central or provincial government, only 425 of them were under construction or already finished. 10 counties that were identified as “tremendously affected counties” had no projects ongoing.
So how did the lag happen when sufficient subsidies had already arrived? Chen Wenhua had concluded:
Firstly, some local government have not attached sufficient priorty to medical-sanitation projects. Responsibilities were not well defined. Secondly, other public facility projects were given priority in some counties. Last but not least, the imbalance of capital distributed between different counties has substantially hampered progress on reconstruction, which means the general “sufficient subsidies” was actually not enough for certain projects.
To further explain the last point, Chen emphasized that the lack of progress/funds was partially the result of the high construction standards that some local government prescribed, which were not accounted for when budgets were issued centrally.
Chen pointed out that it is vital to define the responsibilities of each level and department of the government in the face of all the demanding work and the tight schedule – all reconstruction work of medical-sanitation institutions must be in progress by the end of March 2009; reinforcement needs to be completed before July; and by the end of 2009, all the newly built town and township clinics must be in operation.



20090226: Water purification project in Shengli Village

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

2009-02-26  来源:中国新闻网

26th Feb 2009, a water supply project that funded by Lian’s, a Singapore NGO, was officially implemented. The water-purify system that cost nearly 2 million RMB can reverse-osmose 60 cubic metres of water and ultra-filtrate 180 cubic metres, which is sufficient for 10 thousand Ligu residents’ daily water usage. Water that is processed by reverse osmosis can be drunk directly without boiling.
On the same day, a water-purification factory was put into production in Shengli Village, Leigu, Beichuan County. This factory, like the residents of the village, has received great deal of support from Lian’s, and became the first village-run factory ‘back to work’ in Beichuan’s reconstruction work and the first in Shengli Village’s history.
It is expected that the factory can provide 120 thousand bottles of purified water every day, 7.2 million RMB yearly profit and 20-100 jobs to local people.


20090224: Taiping Community Centre begins construction

Friday, February 27th, 2009

联丰村“太平”文化中心动工 川保险业关注重建
2009-02-24   来源: 四川新闻网

On 20th Feb, Taiping Community Centre in Lianfeng Village, Anxian, Mianyang City, which received 1.23 million RMB from Taiping Life Insurance Co., started constructing.
According to Du Shaoyou, the village head, the original community Center that had served 1143 ‘Left-behinds’ (children, women, and elderly whose relatives are away working, leaving them behind in their home village/town) from Lianfeng and other five neighbouring villages was destroyed in the quake.
The centre that is expected to be completed in June this year will be mainly used for Children and Elderly people and also a training centre for female villagers.


20090221: Asian Development Bank approves USD 400 million of loans for reconstruction

Friday, February 27th, 2009

2009-02-21    来源:新华网
The Asian Development Bank (ADB), headquarter in Manila, the Philippines, announced on 20th that, the board of ADB had approved the emergency aid loans, which amounted to 400 million U.S. dollars, to help on rebuild some of the highways and schools that had been damaged in the Wenchuan Earthquake.
According to ADB, this batch of loan will be used to support the reconstruction work in Sichuan and Shanxi, specifically, 350 highways and 12 schools. The time limit is 32 years, including 8-year grace period.
Previously, ADB had provided 16.5 million grant to Sichuan, which was used to improve national disaster risk management system and reconstructive projects. In addition to these 2 batches of aid, ADB intend to finance 700 thousand dollars to help enhance coordination and supervision in reconstruction work.




20090220: Hong Kong allocates 4 billion HK$ for Sichuan reconstruction

Friday, February 27th, 2009

2009-02-20   来源: 新华网

On 20th, The Finance Commission of Hong Kong Legislative Council approved the proposal of an additional 4 billion Hong Kong dollars that will be added to the Trust Fund of Assistance on Reconstruction in Sichuan Quake-hit Region, which made the total capital of the fund rise to 6 billion.

According to Lin Ruilin, the commander of Hong Kong Department of Mainland Affairs, in July 2008, the Council had granted 2 billion Hong Kong dollars as assistance in the first phrase of the reconstruction. This batch of money will be used in 103 projects, including 80 in realms like schools, medical rehabilitation, and social welfare facilities; and 23 in Wolong Natural reserve.

The fund had started to accept applications from Hong Kong NGOs that were working on post-quake relief work in Sichuan in Oct 2008. By Dec, 12 application had been approved, the total amount of financial aid was over 87 million.


香港特区政府政制及内地事务局局长林瑞麟. 08年7月,特区立法会批准开立20亿港元的承担额用以注资基金,支持第一阶段的援建工作。此次申请增拨40亿港元,将用以开展第二阶段共103个援建项目。具体包括学校、医疗康复、社会福利设施等80个项目及23个卧龙自然保护区项目。


20090219: Mianyang: Tianjiashan quake lake drainage

Friday, February 27th, 2009

唐家山堰塞湖水位高 将清淤和开挖泄流槽
2009-02-19  来源:四川在线-华西都市报
According to a source at the Mianyang City government, silt drainage of the Tangjiashan quake-lake is about to start, which is planned to be implemented in two phases, with an investment of a total of 160 million rmb. 
The water level of Tangjiashan Quake Lake has now stabilised at 718 metres, which is lower than it was shortly after the September 24th flood. However the Chengdu Investigation and Design Research Institute of China Hydropower Advisory Group, on the basis of various measurements and tests, urges caution: the lake still post threats to people downstream. Experts underlined that constant heavy rain and aftershock worryingly increased the possibility of mudslide that would cause massive siltation and consequent flooding.
As yet, there is no easy access to this area, and the restoration program recommended in the current feasibility report would be very challenging.  In essence, the plan is to excavate deep division channels, leaving 70-80 metre side slopes on 2 banks that consist of silted rock fragments, presenting considerable risk.
In line with the set plan, drainage and clear-up needs to be completed before the flooding season this year, which is a major part of the first phase of the entire project. Deformation inspection, facility installation and construction of levees are required to be finished by the end of 2009.
The estimated total investment of the whole project is approximately 160.41 million, specifically, 52.75 for the first stage and 107.66 for the second.






20090217: Tian Shengqiao temporary housing issues

Friday, February 27th, 2009

地震灾区新房很漂亮 就是有点不“方便”

四川在线  (2009-02-17 06:48:24)  来源:四川在线-华西都市报

In a recent official survey conducted in Pengzhou City, it is odd, and in slightly awkward for the researchers to find that 160 villagers in Tian Shengqiao village had moved back to their temporary housings instead of the new villas which were built with financial aid from government, not long after their cheerful moving-in ceremony on Jan 16th.

It is rather difficult for people who haven’t been to the village in person to understand why these villagers are actually complaining about a new house that worth 90 thousand cost them only 20 thousand per family.

But actually, 3 things which are rather necessary and important to the residents were neglected when it was first designed – toilet, kitchen and yard.

Jingqiao Village is near a well-known temple, Bailu Shang Shu Yuan, which is over hundred years old. The local government has been planning to rebuild a temple and also redevelop the tourist business in this region; hence the rebuilt community was unified – planned and designed by Chengdu City government to make sure it consistent with the temple’s architectural style.
However the unified-planned walls are actually not the best choice for the environment where moisture and frost could gradually damage the buildings. More practically, without the traditional yards, where do the residents air their crops and keep their livestock?
It has been a challenging race for Tang Ming, a resident of Tian Shengqiao Village, to rush to the toilet on the hill side behind his new house at 6’o clock, first thing, every morning. “It’s a really long queue.” he said.
And just like many of his neighbours, Tang Ming and his wife have to walk 500m hill road to a “cookout” at the “community camp site” of Tian Shengqiao village, which is actually a couple of abandoned houses.
No kitchen, no toilet, and no place for livestock or poultry…therefore some villagers moved out before Chinese New Year, only 10 days after moving in. “It (the new house) looks good though.” said Tang, “it’s just really inconvenient to take a 500m walk to go to the toilet.”
“We had only 10 days to plan and design 400 reconstruction sites. It’s too little time for too much work.” Wang Songtao, the chief planner of Chengdu City Planning Bureau, explained to us.
Fortunately, after this survey, Chengdu City government has already started countercheck and feedback collection in general. New plan for 446 reconstruction sites is estimated to be finished before March, and sequentially improvement could be seen soon afterwards.
[SQR approx. translation into English]




每天早上6点起床,57岁的唐明发第一件事就是以百米冲刺的速度,跑到自家新房后的那个山坡上抢厕所——“去晚了,人得排队到啥时候?” 没有厨房、厕所,没有晾晒粮食的坝子,没有鸡圈猪舍……于是有些村民还没等到大年三十又干脆搬回了山上的简陋棚户。“新房挺好看,但上厕所来回要跑一公里,太麻烦了!”




20090106: Xinhua: Quake roads ‘all now reopened’

Friday, February 27th, 2009

Quake roads “all now reopened”
Xinhua 2009-01-06 09:08:07

Standing beside the flowing Minjiang River, Li Linxian made his New Year’s wish: finishing his hardest-ever mission as soon as possible.
As a construction worker with the Sichuan Road & Bridge Group (SRBG), Li and his 44 workmates have been working on the road between Dujiangyan and Wenchuan, the epicenter of the May earthquake, for nearly eight months.
“We have never left the road since the third day after the massive quake destroyed it,” Li said, noting this has been the most challenging mission in his roughly two-decade long career.
Yesterday, construction workers in Sichuan’s quake-hit regions got the best reward, as the provincial government announced that all the roads destroyed by the May earthquake have reopened.
The 12-km-long road that links the village of Zhitai, is located about 15 km north of the epicenter in Wenchuan county, to the No 317 national highway has been reopened, the provincial government said on its website.
That means all the 2,384 affected roads in the province have resumed operation, it said.
According to media reports, the massive quake has affected or destroyed 22,000 km of roads in Sichuan.
The government also said it will continue focusing on road maintenance in the future.
Known as the eastern route, the 82-km road between Dujiangyan and Wenchuan was almost totally destroyed by the quake and subsequent landslides. The 710-km western route via Ya’an, which provided access for rescue and medical teams, suffered less damage.
“The detour is eight times longer than the eastern route,” Li said.
Working alongside the Minjiang River, the team has been constantly hampered by heavy rains and aftershocks, which on May 14 – the first day they got there – “happened almost once a minute”, he said.
More than 3,000 workers from SRBG have led the way in rebuilding the province’s shattered road network after the quake. Thanks to their hard work, the road between Dujiangyan and Wenchuan was clearly and finally reopened in early September.
Since then, Li’s team started the maintenance work.
Currently, they are on their last task in the whole mission: rebuilding an 84-m-long bridge linking a protruded rock and a village in which the team is now based. Without a bridge, vehicles will have to detour by encircling the steep rock in a valley of the Minjiang River.
“We hoped to finish the bridge before the Chinese New Year, but we know it is impossible now,” Li said, blaming the delays on the forbidding terrain.
Their construction site is located in the village of Suopo, about 30 km to the south of Wenchuan County.
“Suopo” means “sliding slope” in the Sichuan dialect, and Li’s team has been at constant risk from falling rocks, aftershocks and landslides, since they got there in mid-September.
Each night before they go to bed, the workers park large machinery just out of their temporary shelter to block the falling rocks.
“Local people call the mountain Guizhaoshou (鬼招手devil’s greeting),” Li said.
“Many times when we woke up, we found machinery that had been broken by fallen rocks.”
There is a risk even when it is deep in winter – not a rainy season, he said, as winds set off rock falls.
But work still goes on, Li added. Following his fingers, workers were busy at the foot of the “devil’s greeting”.
In order to finish the bridge, the whole team works for 24 hours a day and on two shifts.
“Now we hope a new bridge will be here after the Chinese New Year, allowing vehicles passing by to get further away from the devil’s greetings,” Li said.

20090107: Xinhua: Hope Project to invest 400mln Yuan in Sichuan quake zones

Friday, February 27th, 2009

Hope Project to invest 400mln Yuan in Sichuan quake zones

Xinhua 2009-01-07 18:43:25

More than 410 million Yuan (about 60 million U.S. dollars) will be invested by the Hope Project in quake zones in southwest China’s Sichuan Province, according to the China Youth Development Foundation (CYDF).
Some 254 primary schools in 33 counties will be built with the money, said Tu Meng, deputy general secretary of CYDF. A construction timeline had not been decided yet, Tu said.
The foundation will also provide computer rooms, libraries, movies, sports grounds, teacher training and scholarships.
The money will be used in eight quake affected areas in Sichuan, including Chengdu, Mianyang, Deyang and Aba Autonomous Prefecture of Tibetan and Qiang nationalities.
Donations helped raise the 410 million Yuan, said Tu.
Hope Project, started in 1989, is a Chinese public service project organized by CYDF and the Communist Youth League (CYL). Its goal is to help children in poverty-stricken areas to go to school.

20090111: Xinhua: Earthquake-destroyed school begins rebuilding with aid from Air Force

Friday, February 27th, 2009

Earthquake-destroyed school begins rebuilding with aid from Air Force
Xinhua 2009-01-11 21:46:35

A middle school damaged in the May 12 earthquake in Shifang City of Sichuan Province in southwest China began reconstruction on Sunday, with assistance from the Chinese Air Force.
Established in 1904, the Yinghua Town Middle School was leveled to ground in the deadly earthquake in Sichuan and some neighboring provinces, which left more than 80,000 deaths or missing.
The school is rebuilt on its original site in Yinghua Town, but will be given a new name of “Yinghua Bayi Middle School.” Aug. 1, or Bayi, is the founding day of the Chinese army.
Under the unified arrangement of the central authorities, the Air Force will help rebuild the whole school compound, which covers 17,764 square meters. Facilities include teaching buildings, a cultural hall, a dining hall, dormitories for teachers and students, a comprehensive gymnasium and a basketball playground.
The school was severely damaged in the earthquake, with all the teaching and office buildings collapsing and the students’ dormitory seriously cracking. The new buildings are designed to resist an earthquake measuring 8 on the Richter scale.
So far, the Air Force has helped build a “Blue Sky Elementary School” and a “Blue Sky Old People’s House” in the earthquake areas of Sichuan. It plans to build four more schools and one kindergarten in the quake-hit areas.

20081112: Xinhuanet: 6 months on

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

2008年11月12日 新华网

Half year has past, the great pain, however, is still in their memory.

PART 1: TIAN HE Primary School (MIAN ZHU City), Uncle Peng can only smile before those kids’ eyes.

Jan. 11, on the playground, some children are talking about their interesting news with an elderly gentleman. “What did the kind people send to you this time?” the man asked. “Books!”, “Computers!”, “School uniforms!” Children always seem so excited.

Peng is the vice president of the Education Office of the local government.  He lost 11 relatives in the violent quake. During the past 6 months, meeting these children has been a rare opportunity to smile.

“Until our schools have been successfully reconstructed and are back to normal operation, I will not shave,” said Peng once, and he is keeping to his promise. Working day after day, stepping into the most seriously hit area, Peng never stopped doing his duty. Three days after the quake, when he had the time to search for his family members, he began to find that they have all gone. “I became a 40 year-old orphan in just 80 seconds; who can believe that?”

In those busy days, he didn’t have time to think about himself. He says he is happy that schools are being rebuilt and that construction is on schedule. But actually, Peng began to feel fairly sad and lonely since he now has more time on his own now.





过去繁重的工作让他没有太多时间悲伤。但是看着一所所学校恢复正常秩序,我很欣慰,我刮掉了胡子。但他坦言,现在工作量的减少,反而那些多余的时间让他常常陷入悲伤。(记者 李维娜 魏 贺摄影报道)

Part 2:Students and teachers from JU YUAN Middle School are searching for their bright future despite their unforgettable sorrows

To the 15 year-old girl Liu Miao, it is a wound never to heal since she thought her survival was at the cost of the lives of her schoolmate under her feet.  When the quake happened, she was running with other students, but she can still remember the moment she jumped over a girl who had fallen down.

“I don’t even know her name, but it is a girl, I’m sure.” She said sadly and mentioned that the girl may be her best friend, who was also buried in the ruins.

We can all understand her first choice in the emergency, but she cannot stop blaming herself ever since then. Only a few seconds after she ran out, the entire building collapsed. 283 of her schoolmates have left, of which 14 were her classmates.

One week after the quake, students restarted their school studies and are now in the pre-fabricated classrooms. “We all know that study must continue, so that our kids have to put their hearts into studying immediately. However, the truth is they have not completely recovered from the great pain of the disaster”, said the teacher Yue Congfu. Many of the students can’t concentrate on their textbooks after such a short time, since it is not an easy thing for them to put their grief to one side. Some kids even felt extremely nervous during countless relatively minor aftershocks.

Teachers have tried many different ways to solve this problem with varying results. A psychological consultant called Chan Ting, together with the consultant group from West China Hospital, is operating their ‘mental construction’ program here in JU YUAN Middle School during the past 6 months, and they have decided to hold this program until two years later.

“You can find many of them who stay silently in the behind of the classroom and do not play with others” Chan Ting said. According to the hospital’s report, 200 out of the total 1500 survival kids in this school now have some kind of psychological disorder, which may “Fortunately, they are young enough to learn how to reconstruct their sense of security and confidence from our counseling courses. We are sure they can have a much better mental condition soon. ”

When talking about the future, YU MIAO, the girl who is good at English, also has clear thoughts — she wants to become a diplomat someday. This September, she will enter high school. As the top student in her class, she said, “I am not only chasing my own dream but also fight for my dear friends who don’t have the chance”.
[SQR’s approx. translation from Chinese to English]


新华网都江堰11月11日电(记者姬少亭 吴陈 刘海)对于15岁的余苗来说,跨过摔倒同学的头顶,从地震逃生的那一幕还不断在眼前浮现,在心里隐隐作痛。

“我没办法摆脱负罪感,我应该救她的。”余苗说,“我连她是谁都不知道,只知道是个女孩。”这个正在都江堰的聚源中学上初中的小女孩喃喃地说,那也许就是她最好的朋友——因为她也没有能够逃出来。   但谁都知道生死交错的一刻,她根本来不及做选择。“那个时候,所有东西都在晃,砖头和玻璃往下掉,大家往外冲——我来不及想。”她刚刚跑出教室没多久,整栋教学楼就在她身后轰然倒塌。“5·12”地震夺去了学校283名学生的生命,其中包括14名余苗的同班同学。

震后一星期,这所学校在帐篷中复课了,新学期又搬进了由河北省政府和一名唐山籍商人援建的板房教室中上课。“因为学业非常紧张,学生们必须全心投入到功课里面去,但他们还没能从伤痛中恢复过来。”岳崇福说。 许多孩子完全没有心思学习,还沉浸在失去老师和同学的痛苦回忆里。而且余震时他们都非常害怕,坐立不安。“5·12”地震后,这个地区曾先后发生数千次大小余震。

校方尝试了很多办法让孩子们走出阴影。    四川大学华西医院的心理咨询师陈婷就是其中一位志愿者。她和她的团队已经为聚源中学提供了半年心理辅导,并计划将该帮助持续到两年之后,直至经历地震的孩子们从这所初中毕业。


对于未来,余苗也有自己的想法。这个英语很好的女孩,希望将来能当一名外交官。今年9月,她就要升入高中。作为全班成绩最好的学生,“我不仅仅是为了自己而奋斗。我希望我能实现我们大家的梦想。”她说。(记者 雷 声 肖潘潘 魏 贺摄影报道)

20090115: Medical equipment and infrastructure

Thursday, February 19th, 2009

2009-01-15 《中国医药报》

According to the 2008 annual meeting of China Medical Apparatus Industry Association, the investment in reconstruction of medical infrastructure in quake-hit regions has reached 11.7 billion, which includes 1.87 billion that were used for purchase and maintenance of medical facilities.
According to some statistics, 26,672 medical institutions were impaired in the 5.12 quake in Sichuan, Gansu and Shanxi. 63,925 equipments and facilities plus 8.71 million square metres housing were damaged. Total economic losses reached 11.6 billion.
The 11.7 billion investments from state medical system were directly allocated to hospitals in quake-hit townships. Specifically, 2 million to every town level polyclinic (758 million in total), 285 million for county hospitals of Chinese medicine, 106 million for maternal and child healthcare hospitals, 363 million for township hospitals and 56 million for village clinics. In addition to this, disease prevention institution and health inspection agencies received 106 and 33 million respectively. The basic deployed items include ECG and EEG machines, heart defibrillators, bedside monitors, central monitoring systems, ultrasonic diagnostic apparatus, colour ultrasound diagnostic apparatus, and endoscopy equipment.


20090207: Xinhuanet: Villagers begin relocation for new county seat of quake-levelled county

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

Villagers begin relocation for new county seat of quake-levelled county

CHENGDU, Feb. 7 (Xinhua) — Land acquisition has started for the construction of the new seat for Beichuan County, the worst-hit area in last year’s 8.0-magnitude earthquake in Sichuan Province, according to local authorities.
More than 10,000 people, mostly farmers, are the first to be relocated as an industrial park began construction Thursday in their hometown. These people will become residents of the new county seat, said Chen Xingchun, Party chief of Beichuan.
The Beichuan-Shandong Industrial Park, which covers two square kilometers, belongs to the first phase of construction.
The land acquisition and relocation for the new county seat are expected to complete within two months.
The relocated will temporarily live with relatives or friends before the new county seat is finished. Each person will be paid 40 yuan (6 U.S. dollars) per month during the transition, he said.
“The local government also provides training so that they can work in factories in the new seat. We must ensure that people can live a stable and rich life in the future,” Chen said.
“The construction of the new county seat will change our living environment and living styles. It is good for us, so we support it,” said Li Gang, a villager of Huangtu Township, part of which will be included into the county seat.
All of the relocated will be given the choice of a free, 35 square-meter home or 36,000 yuan to build their own houses, Chen said.
The former seat of Beichuan, on the juncture of two fault lines, was leveled in the devastating May 12 quake. The quake left more than 69,000 people dead and 374,000 injured. Another 18,000 are missing and millions were left homeless.
The new seat is located to the east of Anchang Township, about 35 km from where it once stood. Officials and planning experts said the new site has good geologic conditions and sufficient usable land. It is far from fault lines.
The new town is expected to have 50,000 residents in three years and expand to more than 9 sq km by 2020 with 85,000 residents.
The first phase of the three-stage construction will cost 19.32 billion yuan. It includes public welfare facilities, government headquarters and housing.
Beichuan, a mountainous area, is the ancestral home of an ethnic group known as the Qiang, who number 300,000. They have their own language, food and performing arts, all of which face extinction as their homes were in the worst-hit parts of the quake zone.