Sunday, May 18, 2008


CHENGDU, CHINA - CHINESE authorities already struggling to deal with the aftermath of Monday's massive earthquake are now trying to cope with a flood of children orphaned by the disaster.

Experts and social workers warn that much more needs to be done to repair the deep psychological damage that they and other survivors have suffered.

Social workers say it will be a long time before any semblance of normalcy returns to the lives of these young people - if it happens at all.

'They may nod and agree when you tell them to be strong, but they are very hurt inside. They have lost their parents, lost everything in a flash,' said social worker Qian Guijun.

'The smaller children can't even verbalise their feelings.They have a look of terror when you mention the earthquake. They just start tearing up.'

Over the weekend more than 140 Chinese teenagers with missing parents were moved to a university campus in the Sichuan provincial capital of Chengdu.

The students have been given the food, clothes and shelter that they need since they arrived last night. And they are now starting to think about their families. They are crying at night as they can't find their parents,' said their teacher Zhang Ping.

'I think we have a big problem on our hands.'


SIX people including a German tourist were pulled on Saturday from the wreckage of China's earthquake after being buried for up to 124 hours, state media said, offering hope that more miracle survival stories could yet emerge. The woman, Bian Gangfen, in the city of Deyang, and two of the men were rescued after 124 hours in the rubble, the longest that people are known to have survived in the debris since the 7.9-magnitude quake.

Premier Wen Jiabao on Friday vowed to 'spare no efforts' to save people as long as there remained some hope.

On Friday, an AFP reporter witnessed a man being pulled out of the rubble exactly 100 hours after the quake but only after rescuer workers amputated an arm and a leg.

But despite all-out efforts and the arrival of foreign rescue teams, officials and experts have said the chances of finding survivors greatly diminish 72 hours after an earthquake.

'The initial crucial timeframe for rescue of survivors is 72 hours. After that, the chance of finding survivors drops sharply,' said Yujiro Yabe, a spokesman for the Japan International Cooperation Agency in Tokyo....ASIAONE

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