Thanks to generous Australians, World Vision Australia raised over $1.3 million in response to the earthquake that devastated China on 12 May 2008. The funds enabled World Vision to provide expert emergency assistance within crucial timeframes. It’s now one year on, and work has commenced on long-term rehabilitation and reconstruction projects.
Humanitarian emergencies require a swift response. Limiting the long term cost to people, infrastructure and livelihoods depends on it. Wherever in the world an emergency occurs, World Vision is able to act quickly, informed by expert information and resourcing, including:
- the Global Rapid Response Team, relief experts who can mobilise within 1 to 3 days;
- our Resource Network, which stocks emergency supplies and equipment in worldwide locations, allowing for quick airlift; and
- the Emergency Preparedness Response Fund, which provides the short-term funding needed for immediate action until other funds become available.
When China was rocked by the May 2008 earthquake, all three resources were required - and quickly. The scale of the disaster was huge and horrifying, with almost 70,000 people killed, many of them children, and nearly five million people left homeless.
Emergency preparedness procedures were enacted and World Vision's relief teams deployed. In the critical first stages of the relief effort, they distributed to survivors:
- over 52,000 quilts
- 200 sleeping bags
- 300,000kg of rice
as well as tarpaulins, tents, cooking utensils, crock pots and wood stoves.
The relief operation then moved on to health and educational needs. World Vision established 100 temporary health clinics and set up 10 child friendly spaces to provide children with a safe environment to play, learn and share their experiences. Two hundred schools resumed classes in tents and prefabricated classrooms. Educational materials were supplied, such as school desks, chairs and blackboards, as well as fans and fire safety equipment.
World Vision’s response has now shifted to the next phase - providing support for long-term rehabilitation programs over several years. This includes the rebuilding of:
- 6,300 family homes across the three provinces of Sichuan, Shaanxi and Gansu
- 54 schools
- 15 school dormitories
- 156 school recreation facilities
- 12 health clinics
- 50 community development projects
Quick responses to disasters are essential to help survivors. The expertise of on-the-ground staff and established emergency procedures can provide the best possible means to help devastated communities gain new opportunities when so much has been lost.