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Disaster risk and school infrastructure: What we do and do not know

Sameh Wahba's picture
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Credit: Tracy Ben/ Shutterstock

“At 14:28:04 on May 12, 2008, an 8.0 earthquake struck suddenly, shaking the earth, with mountains and rivers shifted, devastated, and parted forever….” This was how China’s official report read, when describing the catastrophic consequences of the Sichuan earthquake, which left 5,335 students dead or missing.
 
Just two years ago, in Nepal, on April 25, 2015, due to a Mw 7.8 earthquake, 6,700 school buildings collapsed or were affected beyond repair. Fortunately, it occurred on Saturday—a holiday in Nepal—otherwise the human toll could have been as high as that of the Sichuan disaster, or even worse. Similarly, in other parts of the world—Pakistan, Bangladesh, Philippines, Haiti, Ecuador, and most recently Mexico—schools suffered from the impact of natural hazards. 
 
Why have schools collapsed?

Four years on: What China got right when rebuilding after the Sichuan earthquake

Vivian Argueta Bernal's picture
The devastation from the Sichuan earthquake was immense; the recovery, impressive.

Four years ago on May 12, 2008, the world was stunned by the news of an 8-magnitude massive earthquake that struck Wenchuan of Sichuan Province and affected, in total, ten provinces in Southwestern Ch

Saving lives one building at a time: Post-disaster urban search and rescue in China

Abhas Jha's picture

We have all probably heard the old adage “Earthquakes don’t kill people, buildings do”. Recent temblors in Haiti and earlier in China have tragically demonstrated the truth of this. Out-of-date building codes and regulations, poor enforcement and badly-planned urbanization have all greatly increased the risk of urban disasters all over the developing world.

Zai jian – Goodbye – See you again: a look back on China's progress upon leaving the World Bank

David Dollar's picture

This is my last week in the World Bank, after working at the institution for 20 years, the last five as country director for China and Mongolia.

Day of reflection: One year after Sichuan earthquake, signs of recovery and hope in China

Mara Warwick's picture

We have heard stories of tragedy since the Sichuan - Wenchuan Earthquake, but we have also seen the signs of recovery and hope.
Today is a day of reflection in China. The Sichuan - Wenchuan earthquake on May 12, 2008, was an event of immense significance for the people of China. It was one of those events that occur maybe once in a generation, where for many years to come, much discussion will center on the question "where were you when you heard the news?"

Today is also a day of reflection for me. I am thinking about all of the people we have met in Sichuan over the last year who have been affected by the earthquake – the millions who have lost their homes, their land and their livelihood. I am also thinking about the many, many people who have lost loved ones – their children, parents, husbands, wives, sisters, brothers and friends. I have met and spoken with some of these survivors over the last year and they are in my mind today.

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