On 14th April, 2010, a 7.1 magnitude earthquake hit central Yushu ཡུལ་ཤུལ་གྲོང་ཁྱེར། County in Kham, destroying much of the district capital Jyekundo སྐྱེ་དགུ་མདོ and the surrounding area. A friend who survived the earthquake said it was like a tea cup falling from a table, over in an instant, leaving just shattered pieces behind. More than 85% of the buildings collapsed, while large cracks appeared in the houses still standing, leaving most uninhabitable.
Although the official death toll stands at 2698, it is believed that many more, up to 20,000, perished. Families and businesses were moved to relief tents, which were just adequate when I visited that summer, but the weather in Yushu can be extreme during the winter. The first snow usually falls by mid-October with temperatures dropping to below -20C. The redesigning and rebuilding of Jyekundo took over two years.
All Images © Rinchen Lucy 2016