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Sichuan Earthquake (2008)

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The Salvos contributed three relief teams to the Chinese disaster.

The lead-up to the Beijing Olympics should have been a period of joy and celebration for the Chinese people. After all, the games were around eight years in the making, designed as a show for China’s extraordinary preparation and talent.

In May 2008, however, disaster struck the Chinese people. Sichuan – a mountainous province located in the western part of China – was hit with a 7.9-magnitude earthquake. The Sichuan Earthquake was China’s worst natural disaster in around 30 years, causing the deaths of over 67,000 people and leading to the homelessness of a further 5 million people.

In this period, the Salvation Army had three relief teams working in this region, toiling with the local communities whose lives were devastated by these attacks. Departing two days after the disaster, the initial response team provided essentials like food, drinking water, water purification pills, surgical masks and plastic gloves to both the Sichuan people and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) working in the area.

Hong Kong’s Salvation Army and the Macau Command helped to coordinate the relief efforts, helping the build and establish funds for ambulances, medical clinics and equipment.

Significantly, The Salvation Army also provided much-needed emotional response to the Sichuan people, helping some cope with the loss, grief and stress of their experiences.

A Salvos member said that the team is committed to establishing essential funds and donations from all over the globe.

“We are also committed to supporting these communities through the rehabilitation phase of recovery and will provide ongoing assistance to rebuild important infrastructure in various towns affected,” the member said.