China at a glance
An Aid Giant in the Making
The Sichuan earthquake of May 2008 left 87,150 people dead and 275,000 injured, and destroyed more than four million homes. China surprised the international community by requesting international assistance – although the county’s intention was clearly not aimed at funding alone but to build its capacity for disaster response. The combination of adequate funding and strong national determination means that China is now undergoing what is probably the fastest reconstruction following an earthquake of this scale. Unlike many similar crises, there was no gap between the ending of emergency funding and the start of recovery funding in the Sichuan earthquake. This is because the Chinese Government, from the earliest stages, understood that the earthquake response was not about providing relief, but about rebuilding livelihoods. There is a lesson here for the donor community.