A selection of photographs of an explorative roadtrip up from Chengdu towards Dujiangyan, Yingxiu and Wenchuan, taken on January 21, 2009. As a former resident of Chengdu, I am quite familiar with the area. Likewise, as someone who studies urban and regional planning in China, I wanted to see first-hand where things stood in terms of reconstruction.
The scale of visible destruction was absolutely astounding, not only to the housing and habitated areas, but - perhaps even more so - to the countryside (specifically: the mountains and rivers) itself. Nevertheless, structures, roads and lifes are being rebuild at record speed (FEMA should send officials to witness the resolve and efficiencies at work here).
While certain parts of Dujiangyan, and almost all of Yingxiu, are still in rubble, the city of Wenchuan itself was surprisingly alive and positive. In my estimate, about 90% of all structures (new and old) were (again) inhabitable and functional. The city serves as an important regional center for commerce and transportation, and may have been prioritized by the Chinese government as a locality to be reconstructed before most every other place in the area.
All pictures taken with the Leica D-Lux 4, some processing in Lightroom 2.1 Uploaded February 3/4, 2009.
I recently conducted a more in-depth study regarding the circumstances of the recovery and reconstruction efforts
which was presented at NYCAS 2009, Cornell University, Oct. 9-11, 2009. (PDF file, 3MB, opens in new window)
Thomas H. Hahn