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Created 4-Feb-09
Modified 25-Sep-23
Visitors 1023
40 photos
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
Ithaca, NY
The town of Dujiangyan was hit hardThe Erwang Temple in Dujiangyan. It'll take three more years to reopen this World Heritage SiteRussian-built water engineering facility from the 1950s, defunctFormerly a posh club for cadres next to the river in DujiangyanDestroyed stalls and stands, formerly catering to touristsLandslide burying traditional house below, with  contemporary house aboveDujiangyan housing complex, deserted IDujiangyan housing complex, deserted IIDujiangyan housing complex, deserted IIIDujiangyan housing complex, deserted IVDujiangyan housing complex, deserted VTwo survivors in mourning habit - they lost immediate relativesTwo survivors in mourning habit IIThe old road leading up into the mountains collapsed or was buried by massive landslidesDetail of the damage to the bridgeTown of Yingxiu: The school groundsTown of Yingxiu: The school grounds - main administrative buildingTown of Yingxiu: The school grounds - buildings leaning this way and thatTown of Yingxiu: Relatively sound structure on the left, total collapse on the rightTown of Yingxiu: Totally collapsed structure, view from the back