Tuesday, January 3, 2012

China International Experiences and Suggestions on Post-Disaster Rehabilitation and Reconstruction

The Government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), through its National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), has requested further ADB assistance to summarize international experiences and good practice in situations similar to that which PRC is currently experiencing as a result of a great earthquake that struck Sichuan Province on 12th May 2008. This note examines recent large-scale disasters in India, Indonesia, Japan, Turkey,  and the United States (see appendix 1 for disaster sketches) and focuses on generic issues pertaining to  urban development, rural and urban housing construction, infrastructure construction, livelihood rehabilitation, spatial planning (land use), and disaster prevention. 

It is appropriate to place the Sichuan earthquake into perspective, both within PRC and in a global context. In a typical year, up to 200 million people are affected by natural disasters in PRC, and 40 million hectares of crops are damaged. The average annual economic impact from disasters is about 100 billion Yuan ($14.5 billion). While PRC has experienced at least 3,200 destructive earthquakes since BC1931, many of which have resulted in substantial death and destruction, it is typhoons with their heavy rain, strong winds, storm surges and concomitant flooding that cause more casualties and property loss overall than any other kind of natural hazard in PRC,even though earthquakes have accounted for 54% of natural disaster deaths since 1949.Table 1 provides a comparative analysis using the number of people affected in recent natural disasters in PRC.

The Sichuan earthquake has been described by PRC Government officials as the most destructive and widespread earthquake and has posed the most difficulty since the PRC was founded in 1949.The event was an M8 earthquake (with an intensity of 11 at the epicenter) inSichuan Province. This earthquake resulted in 69,146 known deaths, an additional 17,516 persons still missing, and 374,131 injured. The earthquake  caused an estimated direct economic loss of  400-500 billion Yuan ($58-73 billion), affected  an area of 100,000 square kilometers, displaced up to 15 million people,  affected 46 million people overall), severely damaged or collapsed approximately 20 million buildings, damaged over 47,000 kilometers of highway and other critical infrastructure including 69 dams that are in danger of collapse; and created major secondary impacts including the creation of large and unstable ‘quake lakes and possible hazardous materials leakage.

Asian Development Bank. Date:March 2011.Type: Papers.Country: China, People's Republic of; India; Indonesia Subject.Governance and public sector management.Series: Observations and Suggestions