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UPDATED: May 9, 2011 NO. 19 MAY 12, 2011
New Road to Hope
The quake-affected people in Sichuan Province are moving on and trying to adapt themselves to new and challenging lives

Currently Shuimo receives up to 20,000 visitors every day. "I was a farmer before the quake, but now I am a boss," said Yu Pingliang, who runs a two-story teahouse that also provides lodging. "Through the weeklong Spring Festival holiday in February, I earned more than 10,000 yuan ($1,470)."

Before the 2008 earthquake, the annual per-capita disposable income of urban residents in Wenchuan was 9,450 yuan ($1,455) and the annual per-capita net income of rural resident was 2,790 yuan ($430). In 2010, those numbers climbed to 12,780 yuan ($1,968) and 3,330 yuan ($513) respectively.

Welfare guarantees

It was a quiet afternoon in the recovery room of the Social Welfare Institution in Dujiangyan City. A dozen senior people were peacefully exercising with all kinds of special facilities, with the help of several young volunteers from local universities.

Dujiangyan reported a death toll of more than 3,000 in the 2008 earthquake.

"We didn't have such facilities before it was relocated and rebuilt in October 2009," said Ma Yan, 32, a veteran nurse who has been working at the nursing home since 2008. The previous institution was damaged by the Wenchuan earthquake and was rebuilt at a new site. The project was funded by the city's one-to-one helper, Shanghai.

The new 500-bed institution cost 90 million ($13.86 million), and now it has 100 workers taking care of 312 senior people in all. The average age of residents is 75 years old, and the oldest is 100.

The institution's reconstruction project is one of the 10,047 projects that involves Sichuan's social welfare and public service infrastructure. The total investment in these projects adds up to 8.9 billion yuan ($1.37 billion), according to figures from the provincial department of civil affairs.

In the Hahani Pottery Creation Center of the Social Welfare Institution in Dujiangyan, the elders can learn to make pottery works by themselves. Hahani is a kind of non-toxic clay that is safe to play with. "It's a good process for them not only to have fun, but also to think and to create," said Ma.

The residents of the institution had created nearly 300 pottery works. Part had been put up for charity sales, and the earnings went to buying materials for the institution, said Ma.

Wenchuan Earthquake

The deadly Wenchuan earthquake measured 8.0 in Richter scale and occurred at 2:28 p.m. on May 12, 2008. Its epicenter was in Wenchuan County, 80 km west-northwest of Chengdu, capital of Sichuan Province.

The earthquake killed 69,277 people and injured 374,176, with 18,222 listed as missing. It also left about 4.8 million people homeless.

Reconstruction (At the end of March 2011)

A total of 27,564 post-earthquake reconstruction projects out of the planned 29,692 projects had been completed.

Of the total budget of 865.8 billion yuan ($133.31 billion), 787.1 billion yuan ($121.19 billion), or 91 percent, had been spent.

Projects aided by Hong Kong and Macao amounted to 295, with a total investment of 13 billion yuan ($2 billion).

(Source: Sichuan Provincial Government)

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