The Disaster: On July 3rd, at 4:03 pm, a shallow 6.1 magnitude earthquake that struck Ludian County in the Yunnan Province of China shattered a quiet Sunday afternoon. By the time everything settled over 80,000 houses were destroyed; many were older brick buildings common throughout the rural mountain region. Several inside the Chinese scientific establishment have raised concerns that the filling of huge water reservoirs on the Upper Yangtze River contributed to the earthquake, pointing to the possibility that the disaster was human-caused. Ranking as the second worst disaster in the world this year, the quake devastated the city of Zhaotong and its surrounding area, and the death toll of 617 could have risen much higher if the quake had hit on a weekday.
State of Recovery: An estimated 229,000 were displaced from the quake leaving a large-scale humanitarian crisis for the government to cope with. The Chinese government unveiled a three-year rebuilding plan for the region in November that included construction of earthquake resistant steel frame houses and improved infrastructure. All 231 school damaged were rebuilt in time for the opening of school semester in September. Thousands are still living in temporary housing.
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