The mountains and rivers were crushed, and a thousand things needed to be done to rebuild. In Dujiangyan City, signs of the disaster were being erased by active relief efforts. In addition to newly built shacks on the outskirts of town, workers had cleared and leveled the rubble. The firecrackers and fireworks from Spring Festival had been ardent, but they had seemed as a special commemoration to the dead, not as the festive atmosphere of a festival. Much of the marketplace was deserted, but some hawkers were still tenaciously did business. They said they must continue to live with dignity.
The old town of Yingxiu was totally ruined and was being guarded by armed police. Ruins of the earthquake remain clear in my mind: a wreath placed by then-Premier Wen Jiabao in front of a collapsed classroom building at Xuankou Middle School from a commemoration event during Spring Festival; the dew on yellow and white chrysanthemums like people's tears. From time to time, someone came here to mourn, and it became an altar to the earthquake in Yingxiu.
Almost every household in the hard-hit areas had a family member or friend killed or injured. After the earthquake people were busy with self-rescue and reconstruction efforts. Days were better than nights, when people were forced to face reality, the nightmare caused by the disaster was still lingering. Post-traumatic stress disorders might last for six months, a year, or even longer. Allowing time to heal the wounds of the soul may be a long and difficult process, just like restoring the damaged natural environment.
Reconstruction work 10 years after the earthquake
Wenchuan has always been faced with a conflict of too many people and not enough land. The earthquake and rebuilding efforts afterwards brought about a large amount of land reduction, and the farming base in the mountains was shaken. In particular, after the completion of post-disaster reconstruction, the chance of finding hard labor work will gradually decrease, and issues surrounding ordinary people's livelihoods and local sustainable development will become more prominent. What's more, the earthquake and reconstruction not only ran out of the resources of the common people, but also put a lot of people into debt.
Post-disaster reconstruction had been everywhere in Wenchuan, and everyone from government officials to common people was busy with it. Towns and villages were full of construction sites. The army's disaster relief force later became the "Guangdong Aid Army", full of southern accents; the concept of "Guangdong" for the people of Wenchuan went from abstract to concrete, from far away to personal, from stranger to familiar. People from Guangdong could be found everywhere, in government offices, people's shock-resistant tents, and nearly all construction sites.
Post-disaster rebuilding turned Wenchuan, my hometown, into a giant construction site. The scars and memories brought on by the great earthquake are being wiped away bit by bit. Wenchuan County's urban and rural areas have all transformed. The village once built on hillsides and its traditional wood and stone residences have mostly been rebuilt into two- and three-story modern buildings with strong ethnic characteristics. All the townships and villages have been rebuilt, and the unrelenting efforts and struggles of the people in the disaster areas are awe-inspiring. Yingxiu Township, the epicenter of the earthquake, gathered the designs of excellent architects from around the world. Weizhou Town, the county seat of Wenchuan County, has become a large urban garden, and even the cemetery where my father lies has been carefully restored. Almost everyone says that the post-disaster reconstruction has made Wenchuan's economic, social, and cultural development advance at least 30 years.