In the days following the earthquake a number of stories have started surfacing about Sichuan’s enormous migrant labor force and their concerns for loved ones back home. Out of the many laborers that have moved into China’s rapidly developing urban areas, more come from Sichuan than any other province. A recent article from the Wall Street Journal tells us:
According to official figures, eight million migrant workers come from Sichuan. But the official figures exclude many unregistered workers and those who have left home seeking work but stay within the province. Some estimates put the number of Sichuanese migrant workers at 20 million, out of a total migrant labor force of roughly 120 million.
Shanghai has its own fair share of migrant workers and several are interviewed in a recent piece in the New York Times. They are deeply concerned over their families and friends back in Sichuan. To add to their worries, damaged infrastructure and overloaded phone lines have left many of them unable to contact their loved ones for days. Some plan to return home, but many lack the means.
The government, for its part, has stepped in to assist this often overlooked, yet essential component of their countries recent economic success. According to Xinhua, the CCP has ordered cities with large migrant labor populations to locate those workers with families in the affected regions and assist them however possible. Though Shanghai’s official response is unclear at this time, the Shenzhen government has already responded by generously offering paid holiday for all Sichuanese migrants wishing to return home.
There are still ways that you can help, too. The WSJ article indicated that there is a high demand for blood in the migrant workers’ home towns, so we urge readers to continue supporting the blood drives we previously mentioned and other charitable organizations offering assistance.