Dear CBI members, partners and friends,
The CBI's Beijing team has worked closely with Sichuan Quake Relief raising money for the Guangji kindergarten and sharing information about the activities of SQR with the CBI China network in the months and years following the earthquake.
If you would like to know more or wish to be involved with the SQR team please read on and also click the SQR link here for direct access.
For a recent interview with Peter Goff, SQR founder, please click here.
Marking the Fifth Anniversary of the 5.12 Wenchuan Earthquake
Five years have passed since a force 7.9 earthquake struck Sichuan Province on May 12th, 2008, devastating the lives and livelihoods of tens of thousands of people. On this anniversary we commemorate the 90,000 dead and remember the many thousands who were injured, bereaved or displaced.
Over the past five years, Sichuan Quake Relief has worked in the Wenchuan quake area, responding to local needs as the situation developed. In the first twelve months the focus was on emergency relief aid:
SQR distributed services and material donations in value of excess of 25 million RMB to towns and villages in the disaster zone – mainly tents, food, water, medical, hygiene and camping supplies, as well as conducting several small-scale water and sanitation projects.
The second phase of SQR’s work, from May 2009 to May 2010, focused on improving the lives of the millions of people who were forced to live in temporary shelters while the reconstruction was underway.
The projects at this time included health care and physical and mental rehabilitation, education, sanitation, community development, poverty alleviation and economic welfare.
As people moved back into permanent dwellings, SQR’s focus shifted in May 2010 to community rejuvenation projects, support and development of grassroots community groups, educational support and poverty alleviation.
As the new centre of operations, SQR rebuilt a kindergarten and constructed a community centre in Shihe village outside Guangji Township in Mianzhu County.
The Dikangle Community Centre serves the local community with a range of social, educational and community events and activities. Its key objectives are to enhance the sense of the community in the region and to operate as a platform to coordinate a range of projects to revitalise the local area and
assist the most disadvantaged.
In conjunction with local grassroots groups the centre organises and runs regular activities for the local community, including social and cultural events for senior citizens, a health care programme, after-school homework help for school-children and a series of targeted training activities for grassroots community groups.
Other initiatives include a scholarship scheme for children in need and support for local grassroots groups, including the Shihe Village Disabled Association, the Dikangle Community Association, the
Shihe Village Senior Citizens Association and the Jiayuan Community Service Group.
A micro-credit loan scheme for the disabled and targeted training activities have helped to build the capacity of local people for community development and economic regeneration.
After five years of aid distribution and development work in the Wenchuan Earthquake area, SQR is in the process of transferring management of the Dikangle Community Centre to the local community. Our
long-term partners at the Dikangle Kindergarten will continue to run the centre in conjunction with the Shihe Village Senior Citizens Association and other community groups.
None of our work would have been possible without the ongoing support and cooperation of local government partners and community leaders and, primarily, the participation and warm reception of local people.
We would like to express our sincere thanks and appreciation to the people of Guangji, and Shihe Village in particular, for these years of rewarding cooperation.
Looking to the Future
As SQR’s work in one area draws to a close, our focus has shifted to another region of Sichuan Province following the Lushan Earthquake, a 6.9 quake which struck near Ya’an just three weeks ago, at 8 am on Saturday 20th April.
An SQR team set off for the affected area within hours of the tremor and spent 24 hours in the area making a preliminary assessment.
A full scale government relief and rescue operation was underway but the SQR team still found there was a role to play in delivering emergency supplies to the worst-affected areas.
Once again the community swung into action and SQR was able to coordinate a relief operation within a very short time. Here in Chengdu we held two fundraising events at the Bookworm and organised a collection drive outside Carrefour supermarket where people donated supplies as they did their
This Collection Point was a great and immediate success and would not have been possible without the help of many wonderful volunteers.We have also received a steady flow of donations from around the world via our website and personal donations from local people.
As a result, during the two weeks following the quake we were able to send 8 volunteer teams into the disaster area with truckloads of relief supplies, delivering 240,000 rmb worth of material donations: rice,
cooking oil, medical and hygiene supplies.
Rains, landslides and roadblocks created logistical issues on the ground, and each of these trips took between 2 and 4 days of driving in hazardous conditions on dangerous roads, so full credit is due to the volunteers who gave their time and energy to this worthwhile cause.
With the assistance of a network of volunteers and support organizations, the aid was delivered to pockets of need in the worst-affected areas of Lushan, Longmen and Baoxing, serving 8 different village areas.
By working closely with local authorities we did not have to leave the supplies in depots but were able to distribute them directly in the villages and watch as local government officials handed out much-needed food, milk-powder and other necessities to those in need.
Looking forward, in many areas the immediate needs have been met but with the aid of local researchers we are still finding villages that are in need of tents, food and medical/hygiene products, and we will respond to those requests as conditions allow.
As with the previous earthquake disasters we have worked on, SQR will act as an information hub and
coordination point for other donors and international non-profit organizations who are working in the area. We will also look for opportunities to support local grassroots organizations.
SQR is working in partnership with the Friends of Rotary Chengdu, the Chengdu International Women’s Club, the Chambers of Commerce and other donors to raise money for mid to long term recovery in the Lushan area.
We will work with local contacts and government officials to identify cost-effective, sustainable projects that will help people in the affected area recover their homes and their livelihoods.
As with the 2008 quake, there will be a phase of support for people living in temporary housing, which may focus on supporting temporary schools, mother and baby care and physical rehabilitation, followed by longer-term reconstruction and community rehabilitation.
At the current time, everyone who works with SQR is a volunteer and gives their time for free so we are able to work in a very focused, cost-effective way that maximises the impact of donations and directs
funding right to communities in need.
We would like to take this opportunity to express our heartfelt appreciation and admiration for the many hundreds of volunteers who have contributed to SQR’s work over the past five years.
We would also like to thank our very many individual and corporate donors who make our work possible, too numerous to mention here but in particular our key partners Agilent Technologies, NPI, Nokia, the Irish Embassy in Beijing, the British Consulate in Chongqing, the Chengdu International Women’s Club, Rotary Friends of Chengdu and the local American, British and European Chambers of Commerce.
Finally we salute the people of Sichuan, whose determination, resilience, warmth and humour has sustained them through these challenges, and keeps them working towards a better future for themselves and generations to come.
The SQR team