Sichuan Earthquake Update

Help the Earthquake Children to Recover
May 27th, 2008

Keeping love alive for a very, very long haul

Keeping love alive for a very, very long haul
By Fu Jing
Updated: 2008-05-27 07:39

Like many kids, one-year-and-half old Zhong Minhan loves yo-yo. At 2:28 pm of May 12, she was awakened from her afternoon nap, promptly got up and sat down at bed enjoying the two-minute swing with smiles.

And even now, she does not know that the yo-yo has claimed thousands of lives in many cities, towns and villages of her home province Sichuan. But she does know that she could not see her father Zhong Ying easily during the past two weeks as he has always been at the frontline handing out food, medicines and even worked as a guide for journalists.

Zhong, aged 28, is part of the influx of volunteers extending their helping hands to those parents who lost their kids and students who lost their parents to the quake, the aftershocks, landslides and floods of quake lakes.

With him as a guide, our China Daily reporting team reached several devastated towns in high mountains, sometimes by foot, walking on broken railways and twisted bridges and finally had talks with survivors escaping from their homes in the dense forests.

Zhong is not only a guide for our photographer and me. He was so warm-hearted that every time we came back from Deyang, our car would be filled with water, food, clothes gathered by him from his relatives or friends.

And he told me: “In this hard time, you journalists should not only work for your paper but give help and aid at the same time.”

I could not agree with him more.

Indeed, I promised to myself since the earthquake that I would work by reporting and also voluntarily joining in aid delivery efforts for the people there, especially for those kids and the old in the high mountains.

To achieve this, my friends in the UK and other countries have set up a website, calling for online donation. And we are now designing programs to spend the money donated and anyone’s input and suggestions are extremely valuable.

Like Zhong, many, many volunteers and friends moved me deeply. For the past two weeks, my email boxes and mobile phones are filled with warm greetings and applications to adopt children or financially support them.

The message from one of my colleagues read: “I am determined to support two kids for their education and living expenses and my husband and I will work as their parents.” She asked me to help her achieve this.

So far, I have got about 10 messages like this. I will help them make their love reach those in need.

My friend in the BBC, Alex Kirby, aged 67, and his wife had discussed with me in March how to help the Chinese poor during their stay in China. The second day after the quake, he wrote to me saying “he feels sad” and wanted to do what he can.

Very soon, Ms Kirby wrote to me again. “I know that Alex has contacted you”, she said, “but I wanted to do so myself too as the news looks so appalling and we feel for you all. I believe that your parents and Michelle’s parents come from the Sichuan province, and am hoping and praying that they are all safe and well, despite the dreadful pictures we are seeing on television and in our newspapers.”

She continued: “China has responded swiftly and efficiently as best as it can to this terrible tragedy, but it will be a very, very long haul, and please know that our thoughts are with you.”

All these healing words and actions always inspired me to reach the poor and the hard-hit people who are still living in extremely harsh conditions.

Now, as Zhong and friends in Sichuan did, I would fill my car’s rear with necessities and hand them out to my interviewees if they need them.

And last Thursday and Friday, the skilled driver Zeng Xiaohong drove me to Qingchuan and Pingwu, which were located in high-rising steep mountains. Slight tremors occurred frequently, though the survivors have already been used to aftershocks and tremors.

What was worse was that long stretches of landslides have cut the main road off and Pingwu has been isolated by the broken road.

But Zeng, aged 40, was not afraid. “Our soldiers and police have endangered their lives and driven on the one-way narrow village road weaving through mountains,” he said. “Trust me and I will help you reach the suffering people.”

Finally we made it, though we feared that blowing the horn of the car might cause sand and stones to fall down from scarred mountains. We conquered our fears and there we found that people badly in need of tents, medicines and other necessities.

Healing the trauma of those who have lost their loved ones, rebuilding homes for those millions of people and creating education and job opportunities for them are daunting challenges in the long run. To battle these challenges after burying the dead, we need to pray for more love and voluntary contribution.

(China Daily 05/27/2008 page8)

10 Responses to “Keeping love alive for a very, very long haul”

  1. Ken Young Says:
    May 28th, 2008 at 9:10 am

    You & your friends may help those helpless commoners trapped in China more by forcing the following Qs to PRC.

    *Why the newer schools collapsed worse than the older private structures? Kickbacks taken again?!

    *Why most of the govt. officials’ kids studying abroad full-time with no jobs drive expensive cars to schools? Where the money came from?

    *Do those well-fed old men in Beijing really think that PRC will be a first-class strong nation soon while the common practice of taking kickbacks/bribery go on as usual?

    More lives may be saved in the future if you can find those answers for them.

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  3. We have a property that is in the Christchurch CBD. It is also wolhiwthre noting the following:1. For almost six weeks we were prevented by the authorities from accessing our property and securing valuable property. When we were finally granted 10 minutes to retrieve important documents, we found that looters had already been there. Looting is never that difficult and the looters were aided by the authorities who prevented us from securing our private property.2. Our property will have to be demolished. We had intended to rebuild (while potentially purchasing adjacent land and buildings). However, there is no way that we would ever do this now. The risk is too high that the government/council will override our property rights by acquiring, under compulsion, our land at “post-earthquake” prices in order to impose their “vision”. I suspect we are not alone in moving to invest our assets in other parts of NZ or the world. Their lack of respect for personal property rights is going to ensure that Christchurch’s road to recovery is long and difficult. What a tragedy!3. Bob Parker states that residents will stay or return to live in Christchurch. Anecdotal evidence from so many people who have left the city and relocated to Auckland, for example, suggests otherwise. Why would you stay in Christchurch when businesses, who are those that create employment, are not having their property rights respected by the authorities?Julian

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