Situation report: China earthquake

A 6.4 magnitude earthquake hit Ning'er County on the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau, southern Yunnan Province, on June 4, 2007. The quake was the most serious in 30 years, causing widespread damage in five counties and causing the displacement of 180,000 people. The quake damaged pipes, cutting off water supplies, and communication lines were down.

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance has provided One Great Hour of Sharing funds to support the efforts of our long-time mission partner, the Amity Foundation. Amity has decided to target Ning'er County for assistance, as it is the most severely affected area with a high level of poverty and vulnerability amongst its population. 2,000 of the most vulnerable homeless families are receiving basic humanitarian assistance. In addition, Amity is assisting in the reconstruction of 100 houses, two village schools and three irrigation systems. The Amity response is part of the broader response of Action by Churches Together (ACT). Amity and PDA are members of the ACT alliance.

Assistance includes:

Provision of 15 kilos of rice per person to 2,000 individuals in about 600 vulnerable families

The rice is locally produced and purchased.

Provision of one quilt per family to 2,000 families

Each quilt (with cotton wadding) will have the ACT International logo printed on the quilt cover.

Provision of one plastic sheet per family to 1,000 families

Initially there were not enough tents to shelter all those left homeless by the earthquake. There is now sufficient shelter, but with the continuation of the rainy season, survivors are in need of plastic sheeting to protect food, seeds and other basic belongings - helping to mitigate further losses and increased vulnerability. Once houses are rebuilt, the sheeting can be used to cover corn or paddy during the rainy season.

Help in rebuilding 100 houses

House construction will follow a standard design, using a brick or brick and cement framework, and will conform to quake-resistant specifications. Although there is no obligation to rebuild private housing using quake resistant specifications, the local authorities and villagers themselves have decided to adhere to this.

Villagers in Ning'er county also have their own ideas about disaster reduction and have decided to use wood for the framework and then construct the wall outside the framework. Consequently, if the walls were to collapse during a future quake they would fall outwards, and people inside the house would not be injured. During the rehabilitation work, Amity will combine experience from former rehabilitation work and from local people and will also get ideas from local government and experts. The most vulnerable families will be given priority during the implementing process. The Amity Project Office will provide technical expertise and carry out quality control of the construction work. Each house will cost approximately $2,350.

Help in rebuilding three irrigation systems

Agriculture is the main economic activity in the area, so rehabilitation of the damaged irrigation systems is an absolute necessity for recovery of livelihood and income generation. Amity is assisting in the rehabilitation of three irrigation systems. The local authorities will also contribute, and the local people will contribute their labor.

Help in rebuilding two village schools

Earthquake resistant standards set by the government will be followed in rebuilding the schools. They will be constructed using a steel and cement framework and will have floor space of about 500 square meters. Amity is planning to provide about one-third of the cost of rebuilding the schools (approximately $9,000 USD) and also to help the schools equip their teaching facilities. The Government will contribute at least half of the cost, and beneficiary communities will contribute their labor. The County Education Bureau, Quality Surveillance Officer and a professional architect will also be available to ensure the quality of the school buildings.