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17-05-2011 | Latest News , Asia & Pacific

China: Communities transformed 3 years on from Sichuan earthquake


Three years after an 8-magnitude earthquake devastated huge areas of China's Sichuan Province, leaving more than 87,000 people dead and millions displaced, the region has made an impressive recovery. A massive reconstruction programme undertaken by the Red Cross Red Crescent, has funded the construction of more than 2,000 schools, more than 5,000 clinics and hospitals has helped more than 183,000 families to rebuild their homes.

Now, with the shelter programme complete, an important part of the IFRC's support is concentrated on helping people to rebuild their livelihoods, which in many cases were destroyed in the disaster. More then 3,000 survivors have received vocational skills training, many of them farmers relocated from mountainous areas who had lost their land. More than 700 disabled people are also among the trainees.

As part of the livelihoods project, a micro-credit loan programme is also providing those who have finished the trainings with start-up capital to build up new businesses or expand existing ones.

Other Red Cross programmes are helping to enhance the long-term resilience of communities by working on developing better disaster preparedness and health systems which include improvements to water supply and sanitation and training in first aid.

Another priority has been psychosocial support to help people cope with the long term emotional impact of the disaster. This programme started immediately after the earthquake and 30,000 schoolchildren have so far been reached under this programme.

The psychosocial techniques are also being put to uses which go beyond the disaster context, for example to address the emotional issues faced by children whose parents are working far away from home, leaving them in the long-term care of grandparents.

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