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China earthquake

The earthquake destroyed approximately 5.36 million buildings.

Hong Kong-based film star Daniel Wu works on Habitat houses in Taizi village, building walls, mixing cement and meeting with future Habitat home owners.


On May 12, 2008, an earthquake measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale struck Wenchuan County in China’s densely populated Sichuan Province, killing more than 60,000 people and injuring more than 300,000. Other affected areas included Beichuan County, Deyang city, Mianyang city and Dujiangyan city, where an estimated 900 students lost lives under a collapsed school. According to the government of China, the earthquake affected more than 46 million people, causing massive displacements in the worst earthquake to hit China in 32 years.

Approximately 5.36 million buildings were destroyed and more than 21 million were damaged in the earthquake.

Habitat’s response
With support from donors, partners, volunteers and local government officials, Habitat for Humanity China worked on six housing projects designed for about 1,000 families.

The housing, which included single detached, row houses, townhouses and apartment buildings, were built using the government’s quality standard for earthquake-resistant housing and designs from the Architecture Design Institute in Chengdu.  Families have a choice of building walls with red bricks, stone, compressed earth blocks, fiber board or a combination of these materials. Some families have opted to use bricks that they have salvaged from the rubble of their collapsed houses. The doors and window panes also feature distinctive ethnic motifs.

Read more about Habitat’s response to the Sichuan earthquake in the Habitat for Humanity Disaster Response Shelter Catalogue.

How you can help
Please donate today to support Habitat’s efforts in response to this devastating earthquake and disasters like it. Donate to the Disaster Response Fund.