Prioritization of action to be taken after Sichuan earthquake

After the Great earthquake, many building, road and other facilities were damaged. All of the highways into Wenchuan, and others throughout Sichuan province, were damaged, resulting in delayed arrival of the rescue troops. In Beichuan county, 80% of the buildings collapsed according to Xinhua News. In the city of Dujiangyan, south-east of the epicenter, a whole school collapsed with 900 students buried and 50 dead. Half of the wireless communications were lost in the Sichuan province.

The People’s Republic of China government not only rescues the victims from the disaster, but also to take another action like the Ministry of Health to be organizing 2000 persons medical epidemic control team. The Ministry of Transport was responsible to repair the damaged road and control the traffic at the epicenter. The Ministry of Railways was maintaining the railways system to ensure the transposition. The Ministry of Water Resources was maintaining the water and wastewater system and to assess the conditions of reservoirs. The Ministry of Environmental Protection was starting the nucleus and irradiation pollution emergency plan.

There are many actions necessary to take but we can not to do so many actions at the same time. Therefore, the actions should be prioritized according to the important. We should be divided 3 phases to take the actions. The first is Search and Rescue Phase. The second is Prevention Other Disaster and Victims Temporary Arrangement Phase. And the last is Social Reconstruction Phase.

2.1 Search and Rescue Phase

In the earthquake disaster, 69,197 are confirmed dead, and 374,176 injured, with 18,340 listed as missing from Official figures. Therefore, saving lives in the aftermath of the Sichuan earthquake is the top priority for the time being and rescue operations will continue as long as hope exists that people can be saved. The search and rescue victims are the most important action. Another actions supporting and assisting the rescue was also important.

2.1.1 Emergency Rescue

Rescue is the most important action. President Hu Jintao announced that the disaster response would be rapid. Just 90 minutes after the earthquake, he flew to the earthquake area to oversee the rescue work. Wen held an emergency meeting said that “We must try our best to open up roads to the epicenter and rescue people trapped in the disaster-hit areas.”

Therefore, China’s Chengdu Military Area Command has dispatched 5,000 troops and armed police to help with disaster relief work in earthquake-stricken Wenchuan County, in the southwestern Sichuan Province on 12 May. Armed police forces stationed in Sichuan province have dispatched 2,900 personnel, while regular army personnel made up the rest of the detachment.14,000 soldiers had so far been transported by 25 military trains to the quake-stricken Sichuan Province in next day.

China will also send 20 military planes to transport armed forces and armed police to the quake-hit areas, according to the military emergency response office on 13 May.

The soldiers reached Yingxiu Town of Wenchuan on foot on 13 May afternoon because the town was not accessible by vehicles. On several days after earthquake, Xinhua reported 135,000 Chinese troops and medics are involved in the rescue effort across 58 counties and cities. Therefore, many people had been rescued.

2.1.2 Relief Materials

After the earthquake, water supply facilities were severely damaged in about 20 cities and counties in Sichuan. The predominant reason for the long duration water outages was due to broken buried pipelines. The loss of power to water treatment plants caused a total loss of water production. Beside, millions of livestock and a significant amount of agriculture were also destroyed, including 12.5 million animals, mainly birds. In the Sichuan province a million pigs died out of 60 million in Sichuan province. The victims were lacking for water, food and many others materials like blanket and etc. Therefore, the Ministry of Commerce arranged on 13 May the delivery of its first batch of disaster relief supplies to Sichuan Province.

A total of 10,000 flashlights, 40,000 batteries and 200,000 candles were sent from Shanghai, and the delivery of other materials followed. Beside, a total of 21.6 million bottles of mineral water are being sent to southwest China’s qe-hit areas as relief supplies. The water is being transported to Sichuan Province by rail and airdropped bottled water is far from sufficient. Moreover, over 300 of the Tibetan villagers were stranded in their demolished village for five days without food and water before the rescue group finally arrived to help the injured and stranded villagers down the mountain. Therefore, 20 helicopters were deployed for the delivery of food, water, and emergency aid, and also the evacuation of the injured and reconnaissance of quake-stricken areas.

2.1.3 Electric Power

The quake had cut the electrical load in Sichuan by 4 million kilowatts, paralyzing one 500-kv power station and five 220-kv power stations. Plants in western Sichuan including Jiangyou, Jintang, Baozhusi, Maoxian County and Dazhou Dongyuan were cut off from the grid. The State Electricity Regulatory Commission (SERC) has activated its highest possible emergency response and promised all-out efforts to restore power disrupted by a earthquake. The SERC has ordered generation and transmission companies to recover the power as soon as possible and to ensure power supplies to some important sectors, such as transportation, communication and hospitals. PetroChina, China’s largest oil firm, announced a move to allocate 100,000 tons of refined oil to ensure supplies in the areas. After the repairing, main power grids are currently stable and the electricity supply is gradually recovering. For emergence purpose, Hanwang county in Deyang was able to power all street and traffic lights with two generators to assist rescue efforts in the region.

2.1.4 Transportation

According to the earthquake, several major highways and expressways in southwestern Sichuan and northwestern Shaanxi provinces was closed. Transport along the expressway linking Sichuan provincial capital Chengdu and Mianyang city had been halted. The road from Dujiangyan, a city northwest of the provincial capital Chengdu, to Wenchuan, the epicenter, was blocked by rocks and mud slides, holding up rescue, medical and other disaster relief teams. Therefore, the soldiers found it very difficult to get help to the rural regions of the province.

The local transport departments have been engaged in repairing damaged roads and clearing the blocked road. It is an important accessing to transport the relief materials and the rescuer to the affected area.

2.1.5 Railway

Four out of the five rail lines cut off after the earthquake that jolted southwest China’s Sichuan Province on 12 May and have resumed full operations for relief deliveries on the next day. A freight train that included 13 tankers of gasoline derailed and caught fire on the Baoji-Chengdu line on 12 May. Also, several rail lines and bridges were damaged. Among the eight trains trapped midway between Baoji and Chengdu, two had already been moved into stations, while six others were heading to nearby stations.

After the resumed operations, the first relief materials were delivering to the affected area by train. 187 trains carrying relief materials, including 50,000 relief tents and one fuel train, would quickly move to affected areas. Seven trains were scheduled to deliver relief materials for the eight affected provincial areas on 13 May. In addition, 1,300 military trains and 100 passenger trains would be deployed for disaster relief. Rescue and repair work is still under way along the Baoji-Chengdu rail line between the northwestern city and the capital city of quake-stricken Sichuan.

After repaired the railway, about 14,000 soldiers had so far been transported by 25 military trains to the quake-stricken Sichuan Province on 14 May. Trains ,which carrying 416 carriages of disaster-relief materials including 55,935 tents, 283 carriages of fuel and 12 carriages of food, were going to the province. The larger amount of relief materials or rescuer can been transported by the railway. Therefore, it is the higher priority.

2.1.6 Airports

Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport, which was closed on the day of great earthquake due to a strong earthquake, has resumed operation on next day, according to sources with the southwest China’s Sichuan Provincial Government. The closure has stopped 169 inbound flights and 108 outbound flights. Facilities of the airport were damaged when the earthquake. The Airport was closed after the earthquake for the rescuers to conduct checkup on the runways. On 14 May, the Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport has resumed operating at full capacity after repairs.

However, some passenger flights would still be cancelled in order to accommodate flights for rescue and disaster relief supplies and personnel. Beside, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) has designated 55 airplanes from six airlines to transport 7,450 rescue workers to earthquake-stricken regions. Due to the blocked road and damaged railway, the airplanes is a very important transportation way.

2.1.7 Telecommunications

The earthquake has cut telephone and Internet links to southwest China. Cell phone services were cut in Wenchuan County of Tibetan-Qiang Autonomous Prefecture of Aba in Sichuan. About 2,300 local base stations stopped operating due to power shutdowns and transmission failures caused by the quake and three switching stations were overloaded. The Telecom companies have assigned technicians to quake-hit regions, equipped with very small aperture terminals (VSAT), maritime satellite phones, ratio stations and power generators while technical teams in other provinces are on standby. China Telecom has sent two contingency vehicles with 15 maritime satellite phones to Wenchuan. The telecommunication companies have started repairing affected facilities. The Ministry of Industry and Information on 13 May ordered that 350 sets of satellite communications facilities be sent to the quake-hit Sichuan Province to help rescue and relief work.

After repair, Telecommunications services also resumed in the worst-hit Sichuan Province except in the counties of Wenchuan, the epicenter, Maoxian, Yingxiu, Baichuan and Pingwu on 13 May. It is an important for the rescued because the relevant rescue organization can give more information to prepare the rescuing plan.

For example, the rescue helicopters had trouble in landing into the epicenter in Wenchuan. After knowing, a student proposed a landing spot in an online rescue request center, which is in order to find the blind spots of disaster recovery, and it was chosen as the first touchdown place for the helicopters.

2.1.8 Hospitals with Emphasis on Lifeline

According to the earthquake, all of these hospitals loss commercial electrical power, but none reported problems with their emergency power generation system. Most hospitals lost commercial telephone communication. Some facilities had problems with interior communications. Cellular phones and walkie-talkies were used to solve these communication problems. Since there are so many injured people, the medical workers and material were not enough. Therefore, two temporary field hospitals will be set up in Wenchuan. Beside, a team will be established in the provincial capital of Chengdu to coordinate the provision of healthcare resources in affected areas. Moreover, 4,000 medical workers had been seed to quake-struck cities in Sichuan.

2.2 Prevention Other Disaster and Victims Temporary Arrangement Phase

After the earthquake, many other disasters may be threatening the victims. For example, outbreak of epidemic diseases may be caused by polluted water and failure in waste water system. Flooding disease may be caused by failure in construction of Dam. Other diseases like failure of nuclear facilities and Liquid Fuel Facilities. Beside, seismic aftershocks also will kill many people.

2.2.1 Water and Waste Water

The earthquake occurred in summer which is usually a hot season in the affected area. Hot weather followed by rainy and high humidity after the earthquake, epidemics was feared since raw effluent from broken sewers was mixing with floodwater, contaminating drinking water. According to the Ministry of Health, the greatest risk was due to inadequate sanitary facilities for the homeless, danger of infection from dead bodies in the rubble was not an immediate concern. Therefore, the Ministry of Health had sent 10 emergency medical teams to Wenchuan County in southwest China’s Sichuan Province.

Beside, Chinese authorities were stepping up efforts to ensure drinking water and sanitation for the thousands of people living without basic necessities since the earthquake. 48 movable water-purifying machines had sending to quake-hit areas. Two machines had already arrived at Chengdu and another six were reaching the Sichuan provincial capital on 16 May. Each machine could purify 30 to 50 tons of slightly polluted water, making a potable supply for 5,000 to 10,000 people every day.

The Ministry was also shipping 800,000 water purification tablets to the quake zone, and 500,000 tablets arrived in Chengdu on 15 May morning. Forty portable toilets were available in Beijing, Shanghai, and Chongqing to be transported to Sichuan, and 10 were en route. The ministry said the 1,380-member epidemic diseases prevention squads have treated 7,897 corpses and 38,000 dead animals. They also sterilized 27,860 manure pits and removed mosquito and fly-gathering spots, origins of public health hazards. Therefore, no major outbreak of epidemic diseases or other public health threats had been reported in areas hit by the disastrous earthquake.

2.2.2 Dam

China’s Ministry of Water Resources dispatched 9 emergency repair teams to Sichuan to assess the conditions of reservoirs. The teams, with more than 100 experts, would be sent to 6 hard-hit regions, including Mianyang, Deyang and Aba, to check the situation of dikes, reservoirs and hydropower plants. Beside, they would work to prevent dams that were damaged by the earthquake from bursting and endangering the lives of residents and assessing the damage and draw up plans to prevent secondary disasters or evacuations. Moreover, other key water projects in Sichuan, including the more than 2,000-year-old Dujiangyan irrigation system, the south-to-north water diversion project and the Three Gorges Dam are all reported safe.

2.2.3 Liquid Fuel Facilities

After the earthquake, Liquid Fuel Facilities have been inspected. The quake caused leaking at the infiltrator at the Chengdu oil pump station, but no oil leaked outside, and there were no casualties. The line was immediately shut. A major refined oil pipeline in western China that had to shut down after massive earthquake on 12 may. And it is back in service on 14 May. The Lanzhou-Chengdu-Chongqing line was able to carry 600 cubic meters of refined oil per hour after a 22-hour suspension following the Sichuan quake. It is important for ensuring oil supplies in the rescue and disaster relief work.

2.2.4 Nuclear Facilities.

The nuclear facilities have been put under strict protection by forces of the armed police and People’s Liberation Army (PLA) immediately after the strike of earthquake on May 12. By the minister of environmental protection, there were altogether 32 radioactive sources to be buried under debris during the earthquake. 30 of the radioactive sources have been recovered by authorities. Beside, authorities had already detected the locations of the other two radioactive sources, and have limited access of their nearby areas during their excavation. The two radioactive sources will also be transported to safe areas. Therefore, all of nuclear facilities and radioactive sources for civilian purposes in southwest China’s Sichuan Province have been confirmed safe and controllable.

2.2.5 Seismic Aftershock

After the great earthquake, many seismic aftershocks would occur. For example, a seismic aftershock that struck Ningqiang County of northwest China’s Shaanxi Province on 30 May left one person injured, 860 houses destroyed and 3,100 damaged. In the 24 hours ending 29 May noon, one aftershock between magnitude-4.0 to magnitude-4.9 and 201 aftershocks at or below magnitude-3.9 were monitored in the quake zone. Therefore, a team had formed to forecast aftershocks and setup a contingency plan.

2.2.6 Victims’ Emergency Shelter

The earthquake left at least 5 million people without housing due to most of the buildings collapsed. The victims was needed a safe and clear temporary place for sleeping. Therefore, government had using the emergency shelters to establish temporary rescue center for the victims lifting. There were adequate food and water supplying to the victims and had free phone calling to friends and family in two temporary phone booths. A community also had been formed in here. Up to early July, relief workers had built 432,900 temporary houses and another 22,100 were being installed, while the materials for 43,800 of such shelters had arrived in the affected areas. The victims may be live in here for several months until finish the reconstruction works.

2.3 Social Reconstruction Phase

After the rescue and prevention others disaster that life saving action had been action, the reconstruction works should been conducted. It is not only reconstructing the road and building that hardware, but also establishing the society is including to treating psychological effect, repopulation and etc.

2.3.1 Treating Psychological Effect

The earthquake affected hundreds of thousands of people by loss of family, friends, homes and jobs. The severity and the extent of the damage caused widespread fear and anxiety. People complained of anxiety, inability to sleep, fear of another earthquake, and fear of being alone. Many victims refused to sleep in their homes due to several strong aftershocks. The victims were felt and hundreds were injurer during these aftershocks. It is expected that most people will suffer from post earthquake disorders for more than six months. Many people pulled from the rubble were in a state of motional isolation, and were having difficulty realizing what happened to them.

Government also required extra help and counseling is the homeless children. Most of these children are orphaned, some of them too young to be identified; others cannot trace their parents who could still be alive. Priority is given to psychological counseling for the children. Government should formulate a program to decrease the negative psychological effects of the earthquake on teachers, children and parents and to strengthen psychological services in the affected area.

2.3.2 Reconstruction of City

According to the great earthquake, many building, road had been damaged in many city in Sichuan. Therefore, the reconstruction should be conducted. China has started on the general planning outline for after-quake restoration and reconstruction work on early July after it has got close to finish evaluating the range and loss from the disaster as well as the carrying capacity of the resources and environment in areas affected. The details of it will be discussed on next topic.

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