On April 20th 2013, a huge 7-magnitude earthquake hit Lushan County of Ya’an Prefecture in Sichuan Province. The quake affected 111 counties across 18 prefectures, among which the most extensively damaged counties were Lushan, Tianquan, Baoxing, Shimian and Yingjing, causing more than 250,000 houses destroyed or collapsed, 196 people died, 21 missing and over 2 million people affected.
In the past 5 years since the earthquake struck, Hong Kong Red Cross (HKRC) has actively responded to the needs of affected-areas at different stages, e.g. distributed relief supplies and provided medical supports during emergency response, supported to build safe homes through housing reconstruction programs, procured family kits for preparedness of emergency response, implemented community risk reduction projects to enhance individual and community resilience.
Hong Kong Red Cross Actions (2013-2018)
Benefiting 37,886 person-times in total
HKRC received over HK$16.8 million in donations to support relief, reconstruction, rehabilitation, disaster preparedness and risk reduction programmes in Ya’an Prefecture. Meanwhile, the areas affected by this earthquake were also affected by the 2008 Sichuan 5.12 Earthquake, we have allocated about HK$68.25 million from the residual donations of the 2008 Sichuan 5.12 Earthquake to support programmes in Ya’an Prefecture. The donations are allocated as follows:
Up till now, Hong Kong Red Cross has completed its work in response to Ya’an Earthquake from phases of disaster response and reconstruction shifting towards facilitating community preparedness and risk reduction. In the future, based on local needs, HKRC will continue working to strengthen capacity of people in responding to disasters, and facilitate sustainable development of the communities.
Pictures and Stories illustrating Major Work Done in the past 5 years
After the earthquake, 25 HKRC relief and rehabilitation staff were deployed to Ya’an Prefecture to join the emergency operation, such as delivering emergency assessments, coordinating and implementing relief activities
In collaboration with the Chinese Red Cross’s 999 Medical Emergency Response Team, the HKRC medical team (including 3 nurses and 1 engineer) provided emergency medical services to about 3,000 person-times in Lushan County for one week
Provided rehabilitation support in Chengdu Second People’s Hospital and 4 other hospitals in Chengdu and Ya’an. Up to 115 quake-affected patients benefited through services such as case assessment, treatment planning, prosthesis and orthotic devices installation, as well as physiotherapy provision.
3,737 family kits were distributed by the HKRC in the worst-hit areas, providing daily necessities in each kit for a family of 3 to 4 persons. Items included were clothes, blanket, bucket, basic tableware, self-powered flashlights, mosquito net, personal hygiene articles, such as towels, soaps, etc. Staff from the HKRC directly participated in the procurement, transportation and distribution of relief materials. Revisits to the beneficiaries were also conducted by HKRC staff after the distribution to ensure accountability.
The housing reconstruction projects supported up to 3,032 families in Ya’an Prefecture. In selection of beneficiaries, priorities were given to vulnerable groups, including people with disabilities or diseases, low-income households, and minority groups in remote areas. All reconstruction housings were competed and passed final quality inspection by end of 2015. The above picture shows the 28 houses reconstructed by HKRC in Baima Village of Shimian County.
To ensure the quality of the construction work, HKRC staff worked closely with local Red Cross and communities. Inspection trips to the field have been conducted by HKRC engineers regularly to review the quality of the construction work and key construction materials, and provide technical trainings on house construction to the family members.
The above picture shows the completion of 51 houses reconstructed in Yepin Village of Shimian County.
The above before-after pair of images shows one of the supported dwellings in the Yepin Village of Shimian County.
Shi Xia, a 35-year-old villager, used to live with her husband and 2 kids in a poorly-build brick house in Yepin Village. She had lower left limb disability since young and been relying on her husband, the only bread-winner, to support the whole family. Her brick house was seriously damaged in Ya’an earthquake and was rated as high risk building. Struck by the sudden disaster and coupled with physical disabilities and financial constraints, Shi Xia’s family simply cannot afford the cost of rebuilding house and almost gave up trying even with free government-assigned housing land and financial subsidies. Through the recommendation from the local Red Cross, HKRC offered assistance of RMB 20,000 for her family to rebuild the house. Shi Xia eventually was able to build a spacious and bright new home and solved the problem of accommodation difficulties.
During the assessment in the reconstruction project, HKRC identified and addressed the needs of families with disabled members. In collaboration with Hong Kong Society of Rehabilitation, professional rehabilitation assessment was conducted, assistive mobile devices and barrier-free home modification services was provided to 80 families, as shown in the picture the wheelchair and ramp construction.
The above picture shows the installation work of sitting toilets, grab bar and anti-slip floor mats in the bathroom for families with disabled members
The 49-year-old Yang Zhirong, who was born with physical disabilities due to development delay, could only rely on the wall to move and her daily life was greatly challenged.
Zhirong is married with a son. Her husband needs to work away from home. The son is very sensible. Apart from preparing three meals a day for the family, he pushes Zhirong on the wheelchair, though worn-out, to stroll in the sun every day. As a result, the time he spent on learning was much less than his fellow classmates. Zhirong has a wish, "I am eager to cook for my husband and son, and to fulfill the responsibility of a good wife and mother”
Through the project, home modification was made to provide her a barrier-free home environment: floor of the toilet and kitchen was raised to the same level as the living room, latrine was changed to a sitting toilet added armrests and non-slip tiles, and cooking-counter height was adjusted to a wheelchair-friendly position. In order to facilitate wheelchair access, the toilet doorway was widened, a long ramp was built outside the home entrance, and an electromagnetic brake-type electric wheelchair was equipped to facilitate Zhirong’s own access.
Zhirong’s life has significantly improved ever since, “my wish has come true: I can go to the toilet, cook at noon, wait for my son and husband come back home for meals, and I can take care of myself. I have no problem going around with my electric wheelchair and my son can finally go to school without worrying too much." Zhirong also said: "If disasters strike again, I can also manage to escape and stay safe."
Community-based Recovery Project were implemented in 3 of the earthquake-affected communities. Through the construction of small-scale disaster reduction facilities and the promotion of disaster prevention and preparedness education activities, the project aimed to further improve the living environment, mitigate the impact of disaster risk, and enhance the resilience of individuals and communities. The picture shows Red Cross delegates organizing villagers to conduct vulnerability and capacity analysis, and collect opinions of the villagers on the current status of the community.
Villagers were led to discuss and analyze community disaster conditions and countermeasures
Disseminated knowledge on disaster preparedness, disaster prevention, health care, first-aid techniques, and agricultural cultivation techniques to the villagers. Simulated disaster escape exercises were also organized. The picture shows conducting first-aid training to villagers.
Laying cement on the soil road in the village provides the villagers with convenience in daily life and emergency escape. In the evaluation visit after the completion of the project, Ms. Chen, a 45-year-old villager, recalled that it was very inconvenient to walk around in the village because the road was often muddy, especially after the rain. When transporting crops to the town for sale, they had no choice but to go through the muddy road. Considering the round-trip time, time spent on buying and selling in the town cannot be too long due, which in turn will affect their income. Since the concrete road has been built, the environment in the village has improved, and the elderly and children have been able to travel more safely. She can also bring crops to the town by car. In addition, fresher and cleaner products also increase the income significantly for the family.