One quickly moves beyond the numbers and statistics while spending time with the affected families. A firsthand view of the recovery process a few months after the quake as well as six months later reveals the issues pressing on the minds of residents of the region: the long wait for permanent housing and the lack of viable long-term jobs, not to mention the psychological aftermath.
Housing is foremost on most residents’ minds. Initially, blue tents provided by aid organizations dotted the countryside. Since then, residents of the larger villages and cities have been moved into enclaves of temporary housing with shared kitchens, bathrooms and a small square room for each family of four.
“Living in the temporary housing is better than outside without a roof, but the air feels trapped and hot in the summer and it is freezing cold inside in the winter,” said Mr. Jun, a resident of a village in which every resident — hundreds in all — lost their homes.
After surviving one harsh Sichuan winter, residents are eagerly looking forward to the prospect of more permanent housing. Some locals are taking matters into their own hands and have cobbled together makeshift homes from construction debris, tarps and salvaged wood.