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Chinese Earthquake Victims

Discussion in 'Asian Politics' started by ANewStart, Dec 9, 2008.

  1. ANewStart

    ANewStart New Member

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    NPR Morning Edition, December 4, 2008 • Six months have passed since the devastating earthquake in China that left almost 88,000 people dead or missing and 5 million people without homes. As winter approaches, the disaster victims are struggling with unemployment and worries about the future. NPR's Louisa Lim has been tracking one family since the days just after the quake, and she recently met up with the family again.

    The first time I met Zhan Fulan, four days after the May 12 earthquake, she was burying her mother-in-law, Li Mingxiu. The 89-year-old woman died when the family house collapsed on her.

    "I couldn't save her," Zhan told me, tears streaming down her face as she watched her husband digging the grave. She was literally bowed over with grief, overwhelmed with the enormity of their loss.

    Six months after the quake, I returned to find Zhan once more. It was morning exercise time at the prefab school, and I'd been told she'd found work in the kitchen there. When I found her, she still looked cheerful. But life hasn't been easy.

    Zhan was only filling in for someone who was sick. She and her husband remain unemployed, like an estimated 80 percent of the disaster victims. For the first three months they lived off government handouts, and since then, the couple has depended on their son, who — like many others his age — has gone to a nearby city to look for a job. Family relations have been strained by circumstances, and the future seems to have been put on hold.

    "It's said the government received donations of money from many different places for disaster victims, but I don't know where that money's gone," she says, as her colleagues mutter in agreement.

    Throughout these months, the disaster victims' mantra has remained the same: "We're waiting to see what the government will do for us." Those words, once full of hope and confidence, are now repeated with mounting worry and desperation.

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