China: The Recovery Begins

( – promoted by ek hornbeck)

It has been 10 long days since the devastating 8.0 Sichuan earthquake and although there have been several recent rescues of people that have been trapped for 9 days, the mission has moved into the recovery stage.

According to China Daily Online, there are 5 million homeless in the region and 32,666 still missing. There are 25,681 still in hospital.

Many children have been orphaned but all have been adopted.

Image Hosted by

Insurer to adopt all quake orphans

By Song Hongmei (

Updated: 2008-05-15 14:52

China Life Charity Fund will cover all the basic living expenses of children who have lost their parents in the devastating earthquake centered in Sichuan province, until they reach 18 years old, chairman Yang Chao said last night.

China’s largest life insurer said it is in discussions with the local civil affairs department over details of the aid. The company is collecting data on the orphans.

This is a photo of a 3 year-old survivor.  She was found snuggled in her deceased parent’s arms. She said when rescued, “My name is Song Xi Yi, my Mom and Dad are sleeping.  I am in baby school, I can sing and draw.”

The headline is perhaps a little hyperbolic as it is doubtful that they have been officially adopted by China Life. If true, the fact  that they will be taken care of until they are 18 years-old even if they are not covered by a China Life policy is comforting.

That someone is gathering info on the orphans will also hopefully protect the kids from unscrupulous baby merchants that are prevalent in this area of China.

The Chinese Government has also claimed that all medical expenses will be paid by the government.

Quake victims not have to pay medical fees


Updated: 2008-05-15 20:07

BEIJING  — Quake victims will not have to pay medical expenses, the Chinese government has promised.

“Medical expenses shall not be inflicted on them, and the government has the responsibility to help them get better medical service,” Vice Health Minister Gao Qiang said at a press conference on Thursday.

The government will “spare no effort” in dealing with the bodies of the victims and providing medical treatment for the injured, Gao said.

I know that you have been besieged by requests for donations from candidates and  relief agencies, but if you can spare just a little please help. Perhaps the best way would be to donate to the International Red Cross as they are assisting both Burma (Myanmar) and China and are in the best position to disperse aid.

One DKos poster said they would not donate a dime because China is a rich country. I would remind you that due to the 100 year blizzard this past winter and the tons of aid shipped to Burma prior to the earthquake, the nation’s emergency rations of tents and food are low. I would also remind Americans that China donated $5,000,000 for Hurricane Katrina relief. So far, the Bush  Administration has offered a paltry $500,000 to China.

up to 5 million people were homeless and that the government was setting up temporary housing for victims unable to find shelter with relatives. He said nearly 280,000 tents had been shipped to the area and 700,000 more ordered and that factories were ramping up to meet demand. Sichuan’s governor said 3 million tents were needed.

China has also allowed foreign aid teams to assist for the first time after initially claiming that they could handle these operations internally.  The Chinese government controlled press has also opened up, allowing some foreign journalists access to the area as well.

Now that the efforts are moving from rescue to recovery, officials say there will be investigations as to why so many schools were damaged.

A top housing official said on Friday that the construction quality of collapsed school buildings will be investigated once rescue work is completed in quake-hit areas.

“If quality problems do exist in the school buildings, those found responsible will be dealt with severely,” said Housing and Urban and Rural Construction Minister Jiang Weixin.

As a teacher in  Hainan and Guangxi, China for nearly 4 years, I have witnessed the accelerated pace in which China is building new schools. My 300 year-old university was recently moved to a new complex known as “University City”. There are currently 3 modern, very large schools completed with 5 more in various stages of construction. There will eventually be 80,000 students at the complex. There are a several similar projects underway in my old province, Guangxi.

As I see it, the problem could be that Chinese classrooms are physically large by our standards. Class sizes are often 60-100 students per class.  I attribute this to the population. It takes a lot of classrooms and teachers to educate a population of 1.5 billion people as compared to 300 million in roughly the same area in America. I just don’t see the quaint 1-story elementary schools here that are very common in Northwestern Ohio.

Please donate to all in need if you can.

Xie xie


Skip to comment form

  1. …figure.

    As for those who built those school: if shoddy construction was the case, they perhaps should be thinking about a trip abroad because, as we well know, when the Chinese government says “dealt with severely,” it isn’t kidding.

  2. Please keep these essays coming.  Your unique perspective is extremely valued.

    up to 5 million people were homeless and that the government was setting up temporary housing for victims unable to find shelter with relatives.

    5 million people in a single day suddenly homeless boggles the mind.

    A top housing official said on Friday that the construction quality of collapsed school buildings will be investigated once rescue work is completed in quake-hit areas.

    With such rapid development and population growth occurring simultaneously in a previously undeveloped area, you almost have to expect safety issues as these buildings are built as fast as they are filled.

    Heck, one need only look at pre-Fire Chicago or pre-earthquake San Francisco to realize that accelerated growth can often leave an area vulnerable to disasters.

    PS. I’m off to donate now.

    • Zwoof on May 22, 2008 at 08:37

    Image Hosted by
    By zwoof at 2008-05-21

    • Zwoof on May 22, 2008 at 08:39

    Image Hosted by
    By zwoof at 2008-05-21

    Please send a little if you can

    • Zwoof on May 22, 2008 at 09:23

    Free Image Hosting at


    You can click this thumbnail to see the terrain of the affected area.  

    If you have Google Earth, you can fly through the rift area as it is rendered in 3D.

    Here is a 500 px capture

    Image Hosted by
    By zwoof at 2008-05-21

    As you can see, it is very rugged terrain.  People are still walking out toward Chengdu to the plain you can see to the right. All of the roads in the river valley were destroyed by landslides.  Some have been re-opened only to be closed again by aftershocks and landslides. Over 200 rescuers have died.

    Local CCTV is showing video of these poor people.  One boy carried his injured sister for 9 days through these mountains.

    • kj on May 22, 2008 at 14:35

    immediately stepped up for its people in the wake of this disaster.  thanks for this, Zwoof.

    • Zwoof on May 22, 2008 at 18:08

    Image Hosted by

    The beggar, named Xu Chao, with long gray hair and shabby clothes, has won wide acclaim in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, for donating money several times.

    Xu Chao donates money to quake victims.

    He started with 5 yuan (14 cents)at a donation center run by the city’s civil affairs department on Saturday morning.

    In the afternoon, he slipped 100 yuan into the box, muttering: “For the victims in the disaster areas.”

    “The victims are in a more difficult situation than me; and I would like to help them however I can,” is his standard reply.

    Some passers-by, moved by his gesture, gave him money, which he promptly went and donated – this time 340 yuan.

    note: 340 yuan ($47.60)is nearly half of the average monthly income (800Y) of a Chinese worker.

Comments have been disabled.