When the earth shook
In May 2008, a huge earthquake struck Chengdu in China, causing widespread devastation and chaos. While restoring essential services to the British Embassy was our immediate priority, we also wanted to assist the local community to ensure they could safely access their homes and offices.
With the airports closed, three of us immediately took to the roads, driving for 30 hours from Beijing to inspect the condition of the buildings. Our first stop was the British Consulate General in Chongqing and from there we moved on to Chengdu, where we found the Visa Application Centre extensively damaged.
Our expertise enabled us to assess the damage effectively and to conduct a thorough safety assessment. From this we advised against the immediate use of the building.
In Chongqing we were able to give the all clear to local residents that their homes and offices were safe to live and work in. We also offered assistance to a number of UK based companies and representatives of other governments who were without technical support of their own. Our willingness to help others at this crucial time also raised awareness of the British Consulate General and Her Majesty‘s Government within the region.