(Hong Kong, 10 May 2018) On 12 May 2008, an earthquake measuring 8.0 on the Richter scale struck Wenchuan County, Sichuan Province, which damaged local area and provinces nearby seriously with over 10 million people affected. To respond to the huge needs of emergency relief and post-disaster recovery, the Hong Kong Red Cross (HKRC) formulated a 10-year reconstruction and development plan after the disaster. Upon completion of all emergency relief operations, the HKRC immediately carried out reconstruction programmes in affected areas, and later launched community recovery and disaster preparedness programmes in areas including Sichuan, Shaanxi, Gansu, Ningxia, Yunnan and Chongqing, so as to improve the living environment of people affected and to build a safer community with them.
Over the past ten years, the HKRC offered different kinds of support to the people affected during the emergency relief, mid-term recovery and long-term reconstruction phases. At the stage of emergency relief, we quickly distributed relief items to over 311,000 person-times. Medical volunteers and relief team were also deployed to affected areas several times for helping people in need. During the stage of reconstruction, the HKRC supported the reconstruction of over 14,500 houses, 30 township clinics, over 30 schools and more than 250 clinics in Sichuan, Shaanxi and Gansu provinces.
Besides, the HKRC and the Deyang Disabled Persons’ Federation jointly established the Deyang Rehabilitation, Prosthetic and Orthotic Centre (the Centre), the first of its kind in the affected areas after the earthquake which provides one-stop and complimentary professional service to the earthquake disabled. Xiao-ping Li is one of the service users of the Centre. Her right leg was seriously injured during the earthquake which hugely affects her mobility. After receiving the rehabilitation assessment and prosthesis installation provided by the Centre, her mobility was improved and she was able to make a new start – established an art gallery, which sells drawings and mask paintings made by the earthquake disabled, with other service users of the Centre. The gallery is not only a source of income for them, but also a starting point to move on and a social hub for people with similar experiences. Li is grateful for the help received from the Centre and the HKRC, “I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to the HKRC and to everyone who supported me during my recovery process. After the earthquake I was sad and felt hopeless as I lost my leg. But after receiving the service from the Centre, and getting so much care from people there, I finally found my happiness again.”
As mentioned, the HKRC not just offered immediate relief support to people in need, we also care about their future lives and development. Therefore, disaster preparedness and reduction programmes are also our work foci. We have conducted disaster preparedness programmes in over 210 villages in past ten years, including Dong Yong Village in Yanting County, Sichuan province. In 2012, the HKRC donated RMB 630,000 to the village for constructing cement roads which originally were narrow soil paths that affected accessibility and escape of villagers in emergency, and also carrying out health, hygiene, first-aid, disaster preparedness and disaster reduction, and livelihood programmes. Villagers are now equipped with relevant knowledge and are more prepared to various emergency situations.
The HKRC received around HK$1.3 billion in donations designated to support the emergency relief, reconstruction, recovery and disaster preparedness programmes in areas affected by the earthquake. As of December 2017, more than HK$1.14 billion, about 87% of the total donation, were spent. We will continue to carry out disaster preparedness programmes in vulnerable areas in the Mainland，and would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to all who supported our operations for the earthquake.
About the Hong Kong Red Cross
Established in 1950, the Hong Kong Red Cross (HKRC) is a member of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and the world’s humanitarian network operating in 190 countries. We dedicate ourselves to protecting human life, caring for the health of the vulnerable and respecting human dignity by mobilizing people to serve for the causes of humanity. The HKRC services include blood transfusion service, bone marrow and cord blood donation, disaster relief and preparedness, first aid and health training, youth and volunteer programmes, tracing, psychological support, community care and patient concern services, special education and rehabilitation services. For details, please visit www.redcross.org.hk.
Yan Law, Deputy Corporate Communications Manager
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