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November 26, 2008

Sichuan's earthquake, six months later

Six months ago, China suffered its worst earthquake in a generation. The magnitude 8.0 Sichuan Earthquake erased many mountain towns and villages from the face of the map, with destruction radiating outward leaving millions homeless, over 300,000 injured, nearly 70,000 dead, and over 18,000 people still listed as missing. Now, as winter approaches, reconstruction is well under way, with priority placed on building houses for survivors still living in temporary tents. China's government has pledged nearly $150 billion over three years toward the reconstruction effort - including new schools which will be built to the highest standards, after government officials admitted some blame for the shodddy construction of hundreds of schools that collapsed in last May's quake, killing up to 10,000 children. [Previously on The Big Picture: Earthquake Damage in Beichuan County, After the Quake] (32 photos total)

Li Mingcui, 61, wearing Qiang minority costumes, holds a red scarf as a sign of respect to the rescuers during the May earthquake at Beichuan County, Sichuan province November 11, 2008. Li was dug out by rescuers from the rubble of a collapsed market about 164 hours after the earthquake on May 12, 2008, local media reported. (REUTERS/Bo Bor)

An earthquake survivor tries to figure out where his home used to be at the Donghekou Earthquake Relics Park, which covers one town and five villages including Donghekou Village, on November 11, 2008 in Qingchuan County of Sichuan Province, China. The park, which is the first memorial site after the massive Wenchuan Earthquake, was opened to the public on November 12, 2008. (China Photos/Getty Images) #

An elderly woman who survived from the earthquake on May 12 talks on her cell phone on the ruin of the collapsed houses in Leigu township of Beichuan county, in China's southwestern province of Sichuan on November 10, 2008. Rebuilding work is in full swing in China's Sichuan province six months after the worst earthquake in a generation levelled entire towns, but for some families, help is still slow and insufficient. (LIU JIN/AFP/Getty Images) #

A mother carries her child over a suspension bridge which survived the earthquake at the Donghekou Earthquake Relics Park, which covers one town and five villages including Donghekou Village, on November 11, 2008 in Qingchuan County, China. (China Photos/Getty Images) #

New housing is under construction after the May 12, 2008 Earthquake left many homeless and living in nearby makeshift tents on November 15, 2008 in Lueyang County of Shaanxi Province, China. As winter falls, reconstruction work is accelerated in the province since many people in the quake-hit area still live in makeshift houses. (China Photos/Getty Images) #

A monument made from roof beams dug out of debris is seen at the Donghekou Earthquake Relics Park, which covers one town and five villages including Donghekou Village, on November 11, 2008 in Qingchuan County, China. (China Photos/Getty Images) #

Li Mingcui, 61, wearing a Qiang minority costume, burns offerings to mourn her husband and granddaughter, who died during the May earthquake, in Beichuan County, November 11, 2008. (REUTERS/Bo Bor) #

Chain-link fencing is seen next to a damaged building after local authorities sealed off large parts of the quake-hit Beichuan county in China Nov. 6, 2008. Beichuan was so shattered by the quake on May 12 that the government has decided to abandon it and rebuild - the only question is where. Six months after the worst quake to hit China in three decades, the future remains uncertain for many survivors. Jobs are hard to come by, and government aid payments are about to end. Many people are still in temporary housing. (AP Photo/Andy Wong) #

Visitors walk past the security gate wall topped with razor wire after local authorities sealed off the quake hit Beichuan county, Sichuan province in China, Thursday, Nov. 6, 2008. (AP Photo/Andy Wong) #

Police check residents identity before letting them pass the security gate after local authorities sealed off the quake hit Beichuan county China Nov. 6, 2008. (AP Photo/Andy Wong) #

Zhao Yan, 32, wearing Qiang minority costumes, mourns for her father and daughter who died during the May earthquake in Beichuan County, November 11, 2008. (REUTERS/Bo Bor) #

A worker demolishes the ruins of collapsed houses in Leigu township of Beichuan county, in China's southwestern province of Sichuan on November 10, 2008. (LIU JIN/AFP/Getty Images) #

New housing is under construction after the May 12, 2008 Earthquake left many homeless on November 15, 2008 in Lueyang County of Shaanxi Province, China. (China Photos/Getty Images) #

Local students run past a tent donated by the United Nations at a temporary school in Yinghua township, in China's southwestern province of Sichuan on November 11, 2008. Six months after thousands of school children lost their lives in the Sichuan earthquake, psychological counselling remains a dire need for families here. (LIU JIN/AFP/Getty Images) #

A local resident collects stones to build his house in Songpan, one of the worst-hit areas during the May earthquake, Sichuan province November 22, 2008. An usually harsh winter is expected in the mountains of Sichuan, where millions of quake victims live in temporary housing that gives little protection against cold, rain and snow, provincial officials said on Friday. (REUTERS/Stringer) #

Women wash dishwares near a collapsed building in Yingxiu township of Wenchuan county, in China's southwestern province of Sichuan on November 10, 2008. Six months later the pair are unemployed and have no idea what the future holds for them in their devastated hometown of Yingxiu, which sits at the epicentre of the 8.0 magnitude quake here in Wenchuan county. (LIU JIN/AFP/Getty Images) #

A boy with his toy gun walks past reconstruction houses next to the tents which set up for the May 12 earthquake survivors near the Beichuan county, Sichuan Province in China, Friday, Nov. 7, 2008. The town was so damaged by the 7.9-magnitude temblor in Sichuan province on May 12 that the government has decided to abandon it and rebuild. (AP Photo/Andy Wong) #

Workers install an power line tower surrounded by the rubble of last May's landslides, outside Wenchuan county, in China's southwestern province of Sichuan on November 10, 2008. (LIU JIN/AFP/Getty Images) #

A woman at an overlook turns to leave after viewing the ruins below in quake-hit Beichuan county China Nov. 6, 2008. (AP Photo/Andy Wong) #

A woman has her picture taken on the hill near earthquake-hit Beichuan county on November 10, 2008. The destruction in Beichuan, about 130 kilometres (78 miles) from Taoping, was so great that the government has decided to leave the town as it is - uninhabited and destroyed - and turn it into an earthquake museum. The museum is expected to attract tourist dollars to help rebuild the region and also benefit efforts to protect the 3,000 year-old cultural heritage of the Qiang minority. (LIU JIN/AFP/Getty Images) #

An ethnic Qiang woman tries to sell the photos showing the earthquake-hit Beichuan county to visitors, at the entrance to Beichuan on November 10, 2008. (LIU JIN/AFP/Getty Images) #

Tourists walk near a monument to the massive Wenchuan Earthquake at the Donghekou Earthquake Relics Park on November 11, 2008 in Qingchuan County of Sichuan Province, China. (China Photos/Getty Images) #

Residents shake hands with firemen who took part in rescue missions during the May 12 earthquake attend a retirement ceremony on November 25, 2008 in Chengdu of Sichuan, China. Over 130 "Hero Firemen" retired today. During the earthquke, China mobilized over 140,000 rescue personnel including military, firemen and police. The country is now targeting post-quake reconstruction after rescue work has come to an end. (China Photos/Getty Images) #

A Chinese man poses with his grandchild as they admire the illustration of a new school building that will be built near their village in the suburbs of Xian, in northern China's Shaanxi province on November 20, 2008. China plans to improve the ability of schools to withstand earthquakes by revising a law in the wake of May's devastating quake that killed thousands of pupils. (AFP/AFP/Getty Images) #

20-year-old panda Qi Hao, a survivor of the May Sichuan earthquake gets a thorough physical examination in Fuzhou, southeastern China's Fujian province Thursday Oct. 30, 2008. Qi Hao was transferred to the southern province four months ago after its home the Wolong Giant Panda Reserve Center in Sichuan was devastated by the earthquake. (AP Photo) #

A female migrant worker carries her child at a railway station in Shenyang, Liaoning province November 21, 2008. She is returning to her hometown in Sichuan province after failing to find a job in Shenyang. The ranks of unemployed in China are likely to rise next year as the impact of the global economic crisis starts to bite in the world's most populous country. (REUTERS/Stringer) #

A student walks to school along the only path available near the village of Gulucan on November 17, 2008 in Hanyuan county, Sichuan province, China. More than 60 farmers' families live in six isolated locations, perched high above a spectacular canyon in the area. Some farmers' children have to walk three hours to their school along the edge of a crumbling, narrow mountain path with a sheer 5,000ft drop on one side. (Guang Niu/Getty Images) #

Local children play on a pipe at a construction site in Leigu township of Beichuan county on November 10, 2008. Rebuilding work is underway in China's Sichuan province six months after the worst earthquake in a generation levelled entire towns. (LIU JIN/AFP/Getty Images) #

A general view of building waste residue bricks at a plant on October 21, 2008 in Dujiangyan of Sichuan Province, China. The plant was built on July 8 to make bricks from the estimated 20 millon tons of building waste residue left by the May 12 earthquake. About 70 million concrete perforated bricks will be processed by the line per year. (China Photos/Getty Images) #

A young girl helps to arrange belongings as she moves into a new house, leaving her temporary tent housing with her family at the Leigu Township on November 25, 2008 in Beichuan County, China. Reconstruction work is accelerated in the province as those still living in makeshift houses prepare for challenging winter weather. According to state media, over 15.6 million houses were damaged in the May 12 Sichuan Earthquake and the Chinese government plans to spend three years to rebuild infrastructure and homes. (China Photos/Getty Images) #

A woman cooks while her husband playing computer games inside the prefabricated temporary housing in Yingxiu, Sichuan Province in China Nov. 8, 2008. Last week, the government announced plans to pump $146 billion into the rebuilding effort over the next three years. Some 120 billion yuan ($17.5 billion) will be spent on ensuring schools, hospitals and other public facilities are built to higher standards. (AP Photo/Andy Wong) #

Children receive winter clothes donated by a group of volunteers as they line up preparing to leave the temporary school near the quake-hit Beichuan county on Friday, Nov. 7, 2008. (AP Photo/Andy Wong) #

 
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