May 26, 2010 – Mianyang, Sichuan, China – CMAT Executive Director Valerie Rzepka visited the temporary home of the Mianyang Youxian District Special Education School earlier today, and presented them with a cheque for ¥85,000 (approx $12,500 CAD). “CMAT is very excited to be able to contribute to the reconstruction of the special education school, which was destroyed in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake”, she said.
The earthquake, which occurred May 12, 2008 killed nearly 70,000 people in the region, and injured countless others. CMAT Assessment team was on the ground shortly after to conduct a needs assessment. “Our team on the ground found that the local authorities had a tremendous response, including medical, military and recovery personnel. Our skills in providing disaster medical relief weren’t needed – and that’s a good thing!! ” Valerie continued.
CMAT raised funds for the earthquake effort, and these funds will instead be used to support the reconstruction of the Mianyang Youxian District Special Education School. “Through our local partner, the Mianyang Municipal Handicapped Federation, we will be purchasing rehabilitation equipment for the children to use while attending the school. CMAT is proud to support the handicapped federation’s efforts to provide accessible services to the disabled community, especially the children in Mianyang who lost their school, or were injured in the quake. Physical wounds from the earthquake can take a long time to heal, and some may never be the same, the emotional wounds can be more difficult to heal. CMAT is happy to provide funding to obtain specialized equipment for children who were injured or disabled as a result of the earthquake, in order to help them regain a sense of normalcy, and to learn how to establish themselves as contributing members of their community.”
Ms. Rzepka’s visit concluded with a tour of the new school which is currently under construction, funded in partnership by the Government of British Columbia, and built of specially imported BC Cedar Wood. “It’s very exciting to see the progress of reconstruction effort happening. In the two years following this earthquake, major strides have taken place to regain a sense of normalcy. It gives me great hope that with the support of organizations such as CMAT, other places in the world affected by tragedy can heal their wounds, and prosper after such devastation.”
On May 27, Ms. Rzepka will travel to Beichuan, to view the ruins of the city closest to the epicentre.
CMAT continues to appeal for assistance for all of its projects around the world, including China and Haiti. Donations gratefully accepted online.