PolyU helps set up Sichuan institute to manage disaster

PolyU collaborates with mainland university to offer masters programmes to nurture talent in the field of disaster management

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 21 May, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 21 May, 2013, 3:11am

China's first disaster management institute has been set up in Sichuan after two deadly earthquakes struck the province in five years.

The Institute for Disaster Management and Reconstruction was jointly established this month by Polytechnic University and Sichuan University to support the province's reconstruction and development.

It is now enrolling its first batch of students in its four masters courses - in disaster nursing, prosthetics and orthotics, physiotherapy and occupational therapy - which start in September.

About 100 students will be accepted into the two-year courses to help the region to nurture talents in this field.

Cecilia Li Tsang Wai-ping, who will teach occupational therapy for physical dysfunction, said the institute's courses would be more specialised than those in other mainland universities, which typically offered only a discipline in rehabilitation science.

"Rehabilitation science includes a wide scope of therapies, including physiotherapy and occupational therapy," she said. "But physiotherapy is about treatment by body exercises, while occupational therapy is about making use of daily movements to help people recover."

The institute - sited in Sichuan University's Jiang An campus in Chengdu - is home to six laboratories and a disaster database and resource centre.

After the magnitude 8 Wenchuan quake in 2008, Polytechnic University set up social work stations in three towns and a village.

It also gave relief support after last month's magnitude 7 quake in Lushan.

"Many [Lushan] casualties fell from a height and were not crushed. Most broke limbs and bones," Li said.

"There were fewer cases of amputations, lower-body paralysis and brain injuries. We will use these cases to teach students how to draw up rehabilitation plans."

The two universities have collaborated since 2011, enrolling 23 students in a joint doctoral programme and training about 10,000 others in related areas.

School fees for the course will cost up to 200,000 yuan (HK$250,000), but the programme organisers said the Jockey Club would offer scholarships and subventions if necessary.

The Wenchuan disaster left 87,000 people dead while the Lushan quake killed more than 180 people.