People commemorate Wenchuan earthquake victims on 15th anniversary, as China makes breakthroughs in disaster early warning
Published: May 12, 2023 08:22 PM
A memorial event for the 15th anniversary of the Wenchuan earthquake is held at the former site of Xuan Kou Middle School in Yingxiu town, Wenchuan county, Southwest China's Sichuan Province. Photo: VCG

A memorial event for the 15th anniversary of the Wenchuan earthquake is held at the former site of Xuan Kou Middle School in Yingxiu town, Wenchuan county, Southwest China's Sichuan Province. Photo: VCG

Chinese netizens paid tribute to and commemorated victims of the deadly Wenchuan earthquake on Friday, the 15th anniversary of the earthquake in Southwest China's Sichuan Province, with many expressing their respect for embracing a new life.

Many people visited the earthquake site at Xuankou middle school of Yingxiu town, the epicenter of the earthquake, in Sichuan to mourn for the victims of the earthquake and those who died saving lives.

Wenchuan county also held memorial ceremonies to commemorate the deceased, during which people presented flowers and made a bow to pay tribute.

On May 12, 2008, a magnitude 8.0 earthquake hit Wenchuan, left more than 69,000 dead, and almost 18,000 missing and millions of people homeless.

The topic of "May 12" has gained more than 580 million views on Chinese-twitter like Sina Weibo as of press time on Friday, with many netizens sending their best wishes to the people who are embracing a new life and paying respect toward those people who participated in the rescue operation and the spirit to carry on.

"15 years on, I still want to cry when seeing these images [of the earthquake site]. Some people left, and some people stayed. Have you seen the rebuilt homes? Remember the history, and strive for the future," one netizen wrote.

In 2022, a photo of Zhang Zili holding a baby moved many people, as Zhang himself was a survivor from Wenchuan earthquake, who was only 6 years old at the time. Zhang was helping evacuating a baby in another earthquake taken place in 2022 in Sichuan Province, which made people feel the love and duty being passed on.

The Wenchuan earthquake affected 417 counties, cities and districts in 10 provinces, including Southwest China's Sichuan Province, Chongqing, Northwest China's Gansu and Shaanxi provinces, covering a total area of about 500,000 square kilometers, according to the rebuilding plan for the quake zone released by the State Council in September of 2008.

The three-year rebuilding plan was aimed at promoting the coordinated development of population, resources and environment, establishing a solid foundation for sustainable economic and social development.

Wenchuan's rebuilding was pushed forward in a rapid manner. In the first year after the earthquake, Wenchuan county's GDP was already close to the level in 2007, with 181 of 287 enterprises resuming production and 34 of 37 above-scale enterprises resuming production, according to media reports.

Now Wenchuan has become a base for patriotic education, with many students and teachers learning and passing on the spirit to more people. Some towns in Wenchuan took the advantage of it natural resources to build the region into a tourism attraction to boost local economy.

Meanwhile, the country also strengthened the research and development in earthquake early warning during the 15 years, which has made some breakthroughs in some aspects. After Wenchuan earthquake, the core technical index such as the response time and reliability and application service scale of earthquake early warnings have been leading the world, Wang Tun, director of Institute of Care-life told the Global Times on Friday.

China's efforts in this sector also inspired further study from individual-disaster warning to multi-disaster warning in the world, Wang said.

China issued first large-scale earthquake early warning system book in Chengdu, capital of Sichuan Province on Thursday, a day before the 15th anniversary of the catastrophic Wenchuan earthquake, as well as the 15th Disaster Prevention and Reduction Day, to raise public awareness of disaster prevention.

Global Times