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Two years after the Sichuan earthquake

A new school being constructed in the Sichuan province of China after a Ritcher scale 8 point earthquake struck in May 2008.Photo courtesy of Plan staff.
A new school being constructed in the Sichuan province of China after a Ritcher scale 8 point earthquake struck in May 2008.

Photo courtesy of Plan staff.
May 13, 2010

Today at noon, exactly two years ago: “The buildings shook suddenly and everyone was stunned. We could only hear our teachers shouting ‘earthquake,’ ‘run’ and teachers evacuated us to the playground. Most of us could not help crying.”

This is a collective account by children from a Plan Children's Club of what it was like to experience the Ritcher scale 8 point Sichuan earthquake.

Immediately after the disaster, Plan was on the ground in China to aid children and families in earthquake-affected areas with emergency relief. 400 tents and 300 bundles of plastic coverings benefited over 5,300 people, sheltering families and providing temporary classrooms for students preparing for college entrance exams.

 

Getting children to a better place

Plan’s recovery program was focused on children – helping them cope with the psychological and physical trauma for the quake with child-centred psycho-social support, school reconstruction, as well as water and sanitation services.

Two years later, Plan’s Children's Club has this to say: “With the support of Plan, we had training related to the earthquake to learn how to protect ourselves and help others. The school also arranged an evacuation drill for us to practice emergency skills. From these trainings and drills, we got to know how to protect ourselves and help others in catastrophes. At the same time, we stared to understand that, while facing a catastrophe, it is more important than anything else to keep calm, act orderly and follow orders.”

 

Plan in China: past and future

One of the positive outcomes from the Sichuan earthquake was the creation of Plan’s Earthquake and Disaster Preparedness Team for the China country office. This initiative has established long-term response procedures for Plan to respond to emergency situations that may arise in future.

Plan has been working in China since 1995, helping children to access their rights to health, birth registration, education, livelihood and protection in 16 provinces and administrative regions. Currently, we are establishing a Child Support and Protection Legal Network, to provide legal support and protection for young people across a nation-wide network to cover children in up to 25 Chinese provinces.