Wenchuan Earthquake Case Study

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When the Wenchuan earthquake struck China on the 12th of May 2008 its shock and resulting aftershocks, landslides, mud-rock flows and barrier lakes affected more than 45.5 million people. 69,226 were killed, 17,923 went missing and another 374,643 were injured. The remainder were affected by job loss, homelessness, displacement and economic downfall as a result of the 5.36 million buildings that were destroyed and the further 21 million that were damaged. The disaster caused a direct economic impact of over US$125.7 billion across a spanning number of industries (U.S Geological Survey, 2008). The response to the earthquake had to be a methodical, multi-faceted and interdisciplinary effort, making it a particularly interesting case study for the multidisciplinary group of Hallmark students at La Trobe University. Soon we will travel to China to learn more about the disaster’s effects and how they were dealt with. This brief focuses on the way that government and social policy contributed to the rehabilitation process and how it could have contributed further.
The central government played a leading role in distributing funds for recovery after the earthquake to make up for NGO’s notably small contribution. However, the government placed an emphasis on physical recovery and most of its policy was
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The government set up temporary transitional communities to accommodate people who were left homeless after the earthquake. The primary goal of these communities was to shelter displaced individuals. However, a secondary benefit is that it kept families and neighbours close together and created a community that was beneficial for the mental health of the survivors (Ma, Ma, He, Yu & Caine, 2013). This is yet another example of the government focusing on the more practical aspect of sheltering victims and caring for their physical wellbeing rather than their mental
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