This article explores the challenges of social workers' involvement in recovery work of the 5.12 Wenchuan Earthquake (12 May 2008). Six social workers working in three social work stations in Sichuan, China, were asked to report the challenges they faced in working with disaster survivors. Findings reveal that the social workers faced many challenges. These include lack of government support, low professional status of social work, rapid changes in the social environment in disaster-affected areas, lack of supervision, lack of cooperation and coordination among social service agencies, and lack of experience and knowledge in working with disaster survivors. The practical, educational and policy implications of the findings are addressed.