Response to Devastating Sichuan, China Earthquake

by Mercy Corps
The C4K program helped Guo heal from her trauma
The C4K program helped Guo heal from her trauma

The magnitude 7.0 earthquake that struck Ya'an prefecture in central China in April devastated homes, infrastructure, and water systems in three impoverished counties. Over 200 people were killed and more than 2 million were in need of relief. Your support made all the difference, thank you. This project has been fully-funded and we are glad to report that the Mercy Corps’ emergency response team and our partners used your donation to provide lifesaving aid to survivors, including water, food, and hygiene kits, and to establish programs for long-term recovery that are helping these communities flourish.

Our signature Comfort for Kids program (C4K) was critical to helping children recover from the trauma. Children who are not properly supported after traumatic events are at risk for lifelong consequences, which can undermine their place as productive members in their communities. Because of you, approximately 6,000 children processed their trauma through creative, art-based workbook activities. They experienced improvements in their academic performance, concentration, independence, and participation in civil society. 

Meet 7-year old Gou, who saw her home collapse in the middle of the night. After the quake, she had horrible nightmares, experienced emotional problems, and would disrupt class. After two months of using her C4K workbook, her nightmares diminished, she became happier, and was one of the most active classroom participants. She says: “In the pictures I drew of the panda and the sun,” she said, “I can feel the lovely warmth.” 

We also delivered basic supplies, including furniture, books, technology, toys, and art supplies, to help the children return to learning and playing. To promote safety in this earthquake-prone area, we trained staff on early education techniques, classroom management, emergency preparedness and evacuation plans, and first aid. Xubin, a teacher, comments: “My colleagues have also expressed to me that in helping their students face the difficulties of dealing with this loss, they too have worked through a great deal of their own trauma. I feel that our teacher and students grow up spiritually and their student-teacher relationship is strengthened.” 

We couldn't have done this work without you. Thank you for donating to help the earthquake survivors in China. The communities of Ya'an prefecture are now on their way to long-term recovery. 

Students express their feelings in workbooks
Students express their feelings in workbooks
Students once again gather to laugh, run, and play
Students once again gather to laugh, run, and play


Comfort for Kids Program
Comfort for Kids Program

Thank you for your support. Because you have put your caring into action, we are able to make a positive impact on families' lives in Ya’an Prefecture in central China, distributing 28,000 hygiene kits to earthquake survivors and caring for thousands of children affected by the crisis through our Comfort for Kids program. To show our appreciation, we'd like to share a video depicting the incredible work you and your fellow donors accomplish in Ya’an and around the world.

See it here!

Together, we help people turn the crises they confront into the opportunities they deserve.

On behalf of the families you help around the world - thank you.

With gratitude,

Carlene Deits


Beneficiary student enjoys school day
Beneficiary student enjoys school day

It is almost six months since the 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck central China and communities in the region are still recovering. With your help, we continue to provide the immediate assistance families need like water, hygiene kits, and other emergency items. And it is through your compassion and continual support that we take great strides towards long-term recovery.

Young children are especially vulnerable to the traumatic effects of disaster and require a stable environment over a sustained period in order to minimize harm to their healthy development. To that end, Mercy Corps is focusing on three projects to ensure the psychological well-being of children affected by the disaster so they may fully enjoy their bright futures.

With your support, we have been able to move forward on the following critical programs:

  1. Comfort for Kids Program (C4K): This summer, we finalized and printed “My Earthquake Story” workbook and Caregiver Guide.
  2. Moving Forward Program (MF): Like C4K, MF works closely with older youth (9+) who have been impacted by emergencies. Our MF training curricula includes a Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) component for school students to help them prepare for future emergencies. The program reaches 4,000 primary and middle school students.
  3. Rebuilding for the future - Kindergartens:  Another focus of Mercy Corps’ recovery programming is promoting stable access to early education by helping kindergartens become resilient to disaster. Mercy Corps has identified 10 pilot schools to serve as models for this project.

Mercy Corps also provides School Supply Kits to 48 impacted kindergarten, elementary, and middle schools in Tianquan and Baoxing counties.* It benefits approximately 9,000 students whose education has been disrupted since the disaster and includes age appropriate texts, books, toys, games, art supplies, calculators, an electric musical keyboard, computer, printer, projector and screen, and tables and desks.

Thank you for your ongoing compassion for the people still recovering in Sichuan Province. Children and families are building towards a safer and more stable future because of you.

With Gratitude,

Carlene Deits


*Although these two counties were not the hardest hit, their schools suffered significantly and they are not receiving as much external support as Lushan County, the site of the quake's epicenter.



Young children gather in classroom
Young children gather in classroom


Programs helping children recover from trauma
Programs helping children recover from trauma

The 7.0 magnitude earthquake that rocked Ya’an Prefecture in central China in late April killed nearly 200 people and affected 2 million across 115 counties. With an office in the quake zone and a strong history of responding to disasters in the area, including the 2008 earthquake in the same region, we at Mercy Corps were able to mobilize quickly and provide immediate relief to survivors because of supporters like you.

Along with our local partner, China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation (CFPA), we reached even the most remote communities to assess and respond to their needs, with an initial focus on water and hygiene provisions.

Over two months later, people are still living in tents, their homes destroyed — and we are still responding to the needs of the community. 

Thanks to the generous support of donors like you working together we have been able to provide the following:

  • Hygiene kits: We have distributed over 28,000 packages including soap, toothbrushes, diapers and other health care essentials to families. Learn more and see photos 
  • Day care centers: We’re opening urgently needed safe spaces for children to spend time and engage in activities while their parents work on rebuilding their homes, businesses and communities and seek new job opportunities. 
  • Comfort for Kids and Moving Forward: Our signature child psychosocial programs launched in April that help children and their families cope with the trauma and stress caused by the disaster.

While our current focus is on the immediate needs of survivors, in the weeks ahead we will turn our attention to longer term recovery efforts — both for families and for small businesses, helping people bounce back, while building resilience to future shocks.

In recent emergencies like the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, we provided business start-up and reemployment grants to kickstart the local economies, putting people back to work and strengthening markets. In past emergencies we have also provided Rebuilding Kits, giving families the tools they need to rebuild or deconstruct their homes to salvage personal belongings amidst the rubble.

In disaster prone places, we also work hard to help communities prepare for the next emergency — establishing early warning systems, training community members in disaster preparedness and more — all with the goal of building resilience and decreasing the devastating impact of future events.

By joining together, you and our partners have helped us reach over 110,000. It's just the beginning.

Thank you for your support to improve the lives of those affected by this earthquake. Together, we are making a difference!

Hygiene kits help earthquake survivors
Hygiene kits help earthquake survivors
Contents of hygiene kit distributed
Contents of hygiene kit distributed



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Organization Information

Mercy Corps

Location: Portland, OR - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Carlene Deits
Portland, OR United States

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