Print This Page Email This Page
Volunteers Say Quake Survivors Need Lasting Aid

Shi Qian, a 42-year-old mother, found an unforgettable memento for her teenage daughter, one that she hopes will teach a profound lesson.

It was a notebook recovered from the ruins of a collapsed school in Beichuan, where more than 1,300 students and school staff were buried or killed after the May 12 earthquake.

"My heart sank when I saw the notebook. It couldn't be more familiar," said Shi, who is among the many volunteers helping in China's quake zone.

Shi's 14-year-old daughter is a seventh-grade student in Beijing, and such notebooks are part of her daily routine.

The book was crumpled and dirty. On the white cover, in black ink, were the details of the owner: "Grade: Seventh, 2008. Name: Chen Xun. Student Number: 149. Instructor: Teacher Yang." Inside the book were three pages of geometry exercises, and the teacher's comments were written in red ink. Shi said it was picked up from the rubble, along with keys, school-bags and books stained with blood.

Chen Xun, the boy who once owned the book, isn't on the latest lists of survivors.

The 8.0-magnitude earthquake, the strongest in decades, has killed more than 50,000 people and left more than 5 million homeless.

"The notebook is a lasting reminder of the pain and of what we should do to help," she said.

On Monday, Shi, manager of a Beijing-based computer company, flew to Chengdu, bringing 30 tons of milk powder, bottled water, canned food and biscuits and quilts with the help of her colleagues. They then went by truck to Shifang City, one of the worst hit areas.

On the day Shi departed, warnings were issued that there could be 6- to 7-magnitude aftershocks in Sichuan, and her daughter and husband were worried.

"But I just wanted to be there, even if just to give them a cup of water," she said. Shi's company has donated more than 8 million yuan (US$1.13 million) since the earthquake.

Like Shi, thousands of volunteers have flooded the quake-hit areas, providing care, cash and aid to the quake victims.

"A catastrophe like this demands a continuous outpouring of help. I hope the influx of aid and care can be long-lasting," she said.

"I've heard so much about the earthquake, but being there is something unbearable. The scale of destruction is so big. You couldn't even imagine people had lived here," she said.

The aftermath is profound: epidemic prevention, psychological counseling, medical treatment, and rebuilding homes, schools and in some cases, whole cities.

"I'm afraid in a few months' time, people will go back to their lives, and forget the people in Sichuan," wrote Jin Yurong, a psychological counselor in Beijing who has returned from Sichuan. "The quake survivors can't afford a second round of desertion."

"A 10-year-old boy I counseled left me the cell phone numbers of his deceased parents, and asked me to call. Another boy turned away when people tried to touch him. His arm was broken and he witnessed the death of his friend," she wrote.

"These children need long-time counseling and help, and I've made my vow to give it all," she wrote.

(Xinhua News Agency May 22, 2008)

Related Stories
- Quake Survivors, Rescuers Being Helped by 68,000 Volunteers
- Features: Volunteers' Helping Hands
- Volunteers Express Love for Victims
- Determined to Save Lives: Rescuers, Volunteers Never Stop
- Medical Volunteers Head to Sichuan

Print This Page Email This Page
Premier Makes 2nd Trip to Quake-hit Zone
Firms to Face Fines for Employing Kids
Steel Production Can Meet Reconstruction Demand
China Starts Biggest Ocean Expedition
China to Build 1 Mln Temporary Homes for Quake Victims
Earthquake Death Toll Rises to 51,151

Product Directory
China Search
Country Search
Hot Buys