Lushan Hospital stands despite quake

CNC reporting from Beijing
Added On May 1, 2013

Turning now to southwest China's Sichuan Province...

Though thousands of rural buildings collapsed in the earthquake on April 20th, one hospital - just 10 kilometers from the epicenter - is still standing, without even a crack.

CNC's correspondants went to find out why - and what lessons can be learned from it.

This is Lushan County People's Hospital, in the worst hit-county from the Sichuan earthquake.

The magnitude-7 quake struck here almost 2 weeks ago, killing 196 people, and injuring more than 13,000.

But even after thousands of aftershocks, the hospital is still standing, with only a few accessories falling down.

Experts say this is because the building was designed with 83 shock easing supports, which can even withstand earthquakes as severe as magnitude-8.

Experts made assessments on the conditions of the hospital building after the quake...

And say there're no potential safety risks with the building.

SOUNDBITE: LIANG WEI, Construction expert
"The major structure of the building is sound and safe. Only some outer protective structures need to be repaired. But it won't affect its normal use."

After the quake, doctors at the hospital provided medical treatment for injured people in temporary tents, as a safety precaution.

Now, they're moving into the office building.

"Experts say the building is safe to use. But we need to do sanitization and disinfections there before moving back."

According to the local civil affairs department, more than 186,000 rural buildings collapsed in the quake and about 430,000 homes were seriously damaged.

Some media questioned why so many buildings collapsed or were damaged... as they were built to a higher standard, required in the wake of the deadly Wenchuan earthquake...

...which also struck Sichuan... killing tens of thousands of people in 2008.

Local authorities argue the collapsed buildings were mainly houses, built by the villagers themselves... Villagers say they had little guidance:

"We don't know that much. We only follow the instruction of the construction workers."

But buildings built as part of post-quake programs after the Wenchuan earthquake, none of them collapsed, despite some cracks or broken walls.

And so it seems that new state-backed school and hospital buildings like this, are now up to China's anti-quake standard...

But experts warn more professional building guidance must be given to villagers, so their houses can be safer, if disaster strikes again.