On May 12th 2008, an 8.0-magnitude earthquake hit Wenchuan County in China’s Sichuan Province, ultimately killing 69,225 people throughout the country. A total of 17,923 people were listed as missing and 374,640 were injured in the disaster. The quake-hit areas received RMB 56.9 billion (US$8.34 billion) in donations from all around the world.
It was the country's deadliest earthquake since 1976 when a 7.8-magnitude quake killed more than 240,000 people in Tangshan City in Hebei Province. These two earthquakes were the worst natural disasters to strike China since the founding of the People’s Republic in 1949.
The Sichuan quake has become known since as the ‘Wenquan Earthquake’, and apart from the horrific number of dead and injured it destroyed thousands of buildings, severely damaged the local economy and utterly disrupted people's lives.
Today, the ruins left by the quake have been totally replaced by new homes, roads and buildings, and smiles are appearing again on the faces of the people who have found further hope for their lives and communities.
The Chinese government and its people mobilised resources throughout the whole country for reconstruction and put together a unique reconstruction programme within three years. Some 19 provinces, such as Guangdong, Shandong and Zhejiang, sprung into action immediately, providing overall assistance, especially in infrastructure and housing reconstruction.
Such was the determination of both the Sichuan Provincial Government and the central Government in Beijing that by the end of March 2011, over 90% of the 30,000 projects included in the state level post-disaster reconstruction plan had been completed, with a total of RMB 787.1 billion (US$121 billion) invested in reconstruction projects. Of the 13,647 provincial level reconstruction projects, more than 80% had been completed, with an investment of RMB105.2 billion (US$16.2 billion).
Within three years, the devastation of the earthquake has been tackled positively and the photos on this website show just how effective and widespread the restoration programme has been.