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A Retrospect of the "5.12 Earthquake"

2009-05-12

 

14:28, May 12, 2009, when the globe orbits back to where it was one year ago, it might have forgot the little casual jerk it made at the same moment last year in a place called Wenchuan. Yet it was the very jerk that had brought a rarely-seen catastrophe to Wenchuan, to China and Chinese people: the "May 12 Grand Quake".

 The grade-8 quakes, with an intensity graded 11 and over 30,000 aftershocks, shocked 417 counties, 4667 townships and 48810 villages in 10 provinces. It affected 46.67 million people in an area of a half million square kilometers. 15.1 million people needed to be resettled, with 69227people dead,374640 injured,17939 still missing……
 

The quake automatically called the shot. Chinese people, not afforded to be overwhelmed by the disaster, waged the swiftest, vastest and most invested salvage campaign in Chinese history.
 

Orchestrated by the government, massive rescue efforts by millions of volunteers and over 146,000 PLA soldiers saved 84017 lives from under the debris and 1.49 million victims besieged by debris. 4.3 million injured and sick victims received timely medical treatment. 15.1 million victims were resettled within weeks……
 

There were moments and people that were simply unforgettable: those who sacrificed their own lives for others' lives at the moment of life and death; those who use their own body as a protection for kids and students under the debris; those who had been working day and night at the affected area; those who traveled thousands of miles to join the volunteers. Our kids were no less heroes by showing extraordinary courage and fraternal love in trying to save classmates or singing to cheer themselves up under the debris.
 

Sincere sympathy and valuable support were extended to China by all friendly nations in the earth village. Still fresh in our memory are the tremendous efforts made by the government and people of Australia, New South Wales in particular, in helping us fighting the disasters.
 

Then Premier of NSW Hon. Morris Iemma happened to be visiting China when the quake stroke. Mr. Iemma announced NSW government's donation of AU$ 500,000 instantly in Hong Kong. Mayor of Sydney Clover Moore, while accompanying Mr. Iemma in the visit, added Sydney Council's donation of AU$ 100,000 to that.
 

A few weeks later, back in Sydney, Mr. Iemma and the NSW government hosted a grand charity dinner specially for the quake. This was told to be the first of its kind for a foreign country!
 

Mr. Iemma struck the string of the heart of every Chinese when he said emotionally: "we know that our Chinese friends are capable and strong enough to cope with the disaster, but we, as your cordial friends, want to share this with you. We want you to know that we are with you. And to make donations is just our way of showing that."
 

The traditionally generous Australian Chinese community in NSW moved very quickly to donate and try everything possible to help. Over 90% of the Chinese community made donations. 
 

Donations from NSW amounted to AU$ 10 million, nearly half of the total from Australia. Nearly 1 million people in NSW participated in various ways the disaster relief efforts or made condolences. The donation reception in the Chinese Consulate General in Sydney had been receiving long queues of donators for as long as over 60 days.
 

On behalf of the Chinese Government and People, the Chinese Consulate General in Sydney, once again, extended its sincere gratitude and highest regard to the Government and people of NSW!
 

According to the plan spelled out by the Chinese Government four weeks after the strike, post-earthquake reconstruction was to finish within three years. The world financial crisis prompted the Government to speed up the course. As part of the economic stimulus package, the post-earthquake reconstruction will be completed at May 2010 in stead of year 2011, absorbing an investment of at least RMB 1 trillion Yuan.
 

Estimates show, the most affected Sichuan Province will finish 72% of its total reconstruction plan by the end of 2009. To take housing as an example, over 1 million families in the countryside of the quake zone have had their permanent residential houses built, which accounts to nearly 80% of the total; 138,000 apartments in the affected urban area have been built or under construction, which accounts to 45% of the total.
 

With a view to optimize the overall functional division, the reconstruction plan, if accomplished, will see the basic life conditions, public facilities, infrastructures and economic activities etc. all restored to that prior to the quake or even better. 
 

What is important but rarely known is that, along with the behemoth of reconstruction fund and donations from home and broad, there has been a special mission of over 1000 auditors stationed all over the affected area and traveling with the money flow. Recent report by the mission shows that the money has basically been properly used.
 

Compared with the physical reconstruction, the spiritual recovering of the affected people has been more reassuring. Most of them have come out of the shadow of the tragedy and joined the assisting reconstruction troops from the other provinces in rebuilding their homes. (END)

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