News / Asia

China’s Quake Recovery Efforts Facing Challenges

China’s Quake Recovery Efforts Facing Challengesi
X
May 13, 2013 2:55 PM
China has spent billions of dollars rebuilding quake-struck cities and towns in southern Sichuan province following the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake. Many of the worst-hit areas now have quake museums, and one key focus of recovery by local officials has been to focus on earthquake tourism. But the recovery model is not always sustainable, and rebuilding after so much destruction and loss of life remains a big challenge. VOA’s Bill Ide reports.
William Ide
China has spent billions of dollars rebuilding quake-struck cities and towns in southern Sichuan province following the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake.  Many of the worst-hit areas now have quake museums, and one key focus of recovery by local officials has been to focus on earthquake tourism. But the recovery model is not always sustainable, and rebuilding after so much destruction and loss of life remains a big challenge.

More than half of the residents in the town of Yingxiu died in the Wenchuan earthquake. Now, tourist stands welcome visitors at the entrance to the rebuilt town along with a fleet of tour carts.

"Before the earthquake, people mostly relied on breeding of animals and agriculture, but after the earthquake we saw huge damage in this area. Eighty percent of the foundations of these buildings were badly damaged, so now people here have to rely mostly on tourism for their income," said Ma Qunzhen, a guide and member of China’s Qiang minority.

Ma says there has been a steep decline in visitors to Yingxiu, the epicenter of the Wenchuan quake, following last month’s earthquake in nearby Ya’An.

Since the Wenchuan quake, Sichuan’s province has invested nearly a billion dollars to create more than 170 memorial sites across the quake zone.

North of the epicenter in Hanwang, a former industrial center, the sheer force of the quake is even more evident.

Some visitors come to see the destruction first hand. Others come to remember a vibrant city that is now a shell of its former self.

Fu and his girlfriend Wu were students at the time the quake hit, and grew up in Hanwang.

"Here on the higher floors there were homes. On the first floor there were many shops that sold clothes and food. There were Internet cafes. And next to that there were street hawkers with their stalls and over there was a market, before we used to buy groceries there," Fu recalled.

Fu says that when he visits, he thinks of his classmates who died and what Hanwang used to be.

"The change has been for the worse, it is not like it used to be. I have been living here since I was a child, and then because of the earthquake, many friends have gone away and moved," he said.

In the new version of Hanwang, empty shops and homes line its wide streets.

Throughout the quake zone, one does not need to look far to find newly built and empty homes.

Even Yingxiu, which appears to be finding itself anew, but many homes and storefronts are up for rent.

Ma Qunzhen says that to keep going, Yingxiu must keep looking forward.

"You cannot be living in the past right? In the future, people will have to attract tourists to come here and stay, eat, tour and buy things," she said.

Ma says few have left Yingxiu, in part because they have been living in the mountainside town for so long that they don’t want to live anywhere else.

You May Like

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid