Sichuan Relief Work Update – May 30

In Seva, Sichuan relief work on 30/05/2008 at 15:44

Sichuan Earthquake



  • A devastating earthquake measuring 8.0 on the Richter Scale ripped through the northeastern regions of Sichuan Province in northwestern China on Monday, 12 May 2008 at 2:30pm.
  • It was a normal working and school day shortly after lunch.
  • Villages, towns and communities were destroyed and millions of people suffered within a short span of 90 seconds.
  • Over 80,000 people are reported dead with 200,000 still missing.
  • It is considered the worse natural disaster to have struck the People’s Republic of China.
  • Entire families lost and as a consequence of the ‘One-Child Policy’ many parents lost their only child.
  • Many children have become orphans.
  • Many people are left alone. Family and relatives were wiped out completely.
  • Communities and villages have lost their only support mechanism.
  • Infrastructure completely destroyed.
  • Many of the children died in schools and traumatized parents are accusing sub-standard building standards as partly to blame. School teachers also perished.


  • The disturbing devastation reported in the media cannot prepare any person to comprehend the mental trauma victims and relief volunteers actually face.
  • The rebuilding and rehabilitation of communities and individuals is incomprehensible. The scale of the devastation and tragedy that is spread out both geographically and across generations is humbling.

Scenes of destruction from the nearest badly affected town to the Provincial Capital Chengdu. Popular and busy neighborhoods are now deserted ‘ghost towns’ due to unsafe structures. Tent neighborhoods are springing up and putting enormous strain on both volunteer relief aid efforts. Sanitation and hygiene is becoming a huge issue as summer and the wet season begins.


  • 14 days after the immediate search and recovery efforts in a disaster area, The Art of Living Foundation responded immediately to the second phase disaster relief to help support in the rebuilding and rehabilitation of all communities directly affected by the devastating earthquake.
  • An international team of 15 volunteers representing seven countries were sent in on Wednesday, 28 May to help provide Post-Trauma Relief Programs to victims and relief volunteers.

An international team of 15 teachers and volunteers representing seven countries meet in Chengdu


  • Established Trauma-Relief Drop-in Centre for volunteers returning from the disaster zone at the Communist Youth League.
  • The Communist Youth League is the coordinating agency for search and recovery volunteers.
  • These volunteers are returning from the most devastated remote villages and townships where decomposing bodies remain trapped under rubble that is too dense to be cleared without heavy machinery.
  • 38 volunteers benefited within four hours.
  • Delivered much needed medical supplies for the Field Disaster Hospital of the German Red Cross Society set-up in the past seven days at a refugee tent camp.
  • Secured a list of essential medical supplies urgently needed for the next 6 weeks.

List of urgently needed medical supplies.

Scenes of relief and hope as medical supplies are unloaded. The AOLF Disaster Relief Team and Red Cross Official.

  • Post-Trauma Workshop organized for the People’s Number 4 Hospital (Psychiatric) for 33 medical doctors and staff treating the disaster victims.
  • Post-Trauma Workshop organized for teaching faculty of the Chengdu Paotongshu Primary School. One of the city’s most prestigious schools.

(From top): People’s Number 4 Hospital; AOLF Disaster Relief Team meets with hospital director; and at the Chengdu Paotongshu Primary School

150 staff participated at the Sheraton; 70 staff at the Intercontinental; and 15 at the Kempinski


  • 3 Post-Trauma Workshops organized for one of the major primary schools at the immediate devastated areas, for teaching faculty, parents and children;
  • Workshops begin and continue at various locations;
  • Post-Trauma Relief Drop-in Centre continues to provide essential supportive services;
  • 3-Hour Introduction Workshop for becoming a facilitator of the AOLF Post-Trauma Relief Workshop at Sichuan University for 90 Second Year Psychology students;
  • Chengdu Electric (Provincial State Electricity Grid) organizing an internal live-telecast Post-Trauma Relief Workshop for up to 10,000 employees situated across the province and in the remote and devastated areas;


(above to down) Tented make-shift city. Entire communities displaced. A fallen pagoda, one of the less destructive scenes in Sichuan.


  • Tented refugee camps stretch as far as the eye can see.
  • Victims are fearful of being indoors and are traumatized by the indiscriminate destruction and death toll.
  • Isolation and loss of support network of family and friends.
  • Lack of medical supplies.
  • Rescuers, medical and healthcare givers are traumatized by the extent of the disaster.
  • Rebuilding and rehabilitation will be required for the long-term.
  • Strain on all systems.

Jai Guru Dev!


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