Through a Child’s Lens: Two Years After the China Quake


On May 12, 2008, a 7.9-magnitude earthquake hit China’s Sichuan province, leaving more than 70,000 people dead and 18,000 missing.

In an effort to document what life is like in the region now, the American Red Cross distributed 200 disposable cameras to students for a photo competition. Below are some of the winning images, with the students’ own commentary.




Thousands of the earthquake victims were students crushed inside poorly built school buildings. China has made efforts to strengthen earthquake resistance in schools since 2008 but those efforts are still a work in progress, Zuo Ming, the disaster relief director at the Ministry of Civil Affairs told the New York Times last month.

Since the quake, China has invested about $96.3 billion towards reconstruction in the region, including building homes and repairing or building schools. However the speed at which decision were made about the scale and plan for rebuilding has raised some concerns.

A memorial was held for the victims Wednesday at the epicenter of the quake, in Wenchuan, China. The day is particularly significant for the families of the 18,000 people who remain listed as missing after the earthquake. According to Chinese law, families must wait two years for a missing relative to be registered as dead.