Friday, May 16, 2008

In Search of Survivors, Hope

It's been five days since the massive quake hit Sichuan. I have to be honest, I still can't look at a video, photograph or a news article without getting teary-eyed. It's hard for me to grasp the magnitude of the quake, the immediate damage it caused and the ongoing ordeal that will ensue. The lastest reports on Friday show that the death toll now stands at 22,000, with that number expected to rise to at least 50,000 in the next several days. Possibly hundreds of thousands of people are still buried.

There have been some amazing stories of survival about children, but there have also been many tragedies. The infrastructure of schools have come under attack after several schools completely crumbled on Monday. I've read and watched numerous stories of parents sitting at former school sites, hoping that their children are safe. There was one story out of Hanwang where rescuers found a boy alive, and a man came rushing to the survivor half laughing, half crying, sure that that was his son. The boy needed to be rushed to the hospital and the man was prevented from going close to the boy, but the video shows the rescuer embracing the father as he wept. Another story shows a distraught mother who's found her daughter under rubble, but is unable to get to her. The mom is pulling gently on her daughter's legs. The mom recognzied her daughter's shoes.

I know this earthquake has affected millions of people. For me personally, I can't help but to think about my students in Chengdu, the ones who lived in the villages north of Chengdu hardest hit by the quake.

On a side note: The Wolong Panda Reserve is near the epicenter of the quake. It's home to 86 giant pandas and red pandas. Many, including my mom, wondered if the pandas were hurt in the quake. The head of Sichuan's tourism bureau said this week that the pandas were not hurt.

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