Using evidence from the Wenchuan earthquake (12 May 2008) in China, this article examines the impact of disaster on the functioning of China’s social protection system.
The article examines the social protection system and the recipients of social protection. It presents four main findings: (1) the impact of the disaster on the social protection system itself was considerable; (2) the system was able to cope fairly successfully with the enormous demands created by the earthquake by a surge of resource utilisation; (3) there was an alarming rate of burnout and possible degradation in capabilities after several months, which may affect the effectiveness of the reconstruction stage, and (4) the demands of the public for perfect equality of treatment has hindered targeting of resources, but also simplified the operation at the relief stage. The article concludes with tentative proposals as to the nature of the institutional resilience expressed in the surge.
This article comes from the IDS Bulletin 41.4 (2010) Social Protection during Disasters: Evidence from the Wenchuan Earthquake