Thursday, May 15, 2008

Sichuan devastated

I'm not showing dead or bleeding kids, just these slightly injured ones! Photo source unknown
By now, we've all heard how bad the Sichuan earthquake is. Death toll 15,000 and another 26,000 still buried and more missing. Rescuers are digging by hand!

Tears came to my eyes as I finished reading the New York Times article on tiny bodies in the morgue and the grief in China. So many school kids had their lives snuffed out - some instantly, some slowly. But that's not all. Remember China's one-child policy? Yes. Many parents are wailing the loss of their ONLY child in that quake. It's heart-wrenching but read that story!

The tragedy doesn't end there. Callous handling of the disaster created even more outrage and suffering - death toll lies, slow initial rescue response, authorities not letting parents search the school for their kids, children's corpses left uncovered in the rain! Queries now abound about building safety that may have been neglected in China's construction boom.

Many in Chengdu are camping in the streets, afraid of a second quake
I first heard about the earthquake just as it happened on Monday afternoon itself. A good friend of mine had just flown to Chengdu on Sunday for a much-anticipated two-week holiday. How providential that he is a nurse and recently trained in evacuation and emergency aid too!

My friend described his experience. He was at a traffic junction when the ground shook. A big bus was rumbling by, and he at first thought it was just the bus. But the shaking got worse and people started spewing out of vehicles and buildings. Chaos ensued. Fortunately, Chengdu was spared the worst.

He has now joined the Red Cross teams at the epicentre, assisting disaster relief efforts. Last I heard Chengdu has cut water supplies and is in lockdown mode. He is joking that he is not coming back. OK, well, I hope he is joking.

Every time some natural disaster happens, I feel nervous for Singapore. We are so bloody lucky to be in a disaster-free zone, so far. (*touch wood*) All it takes is one giant tsunami/cyclone/earthquake/[insert name of disaster] to wipe the entire country out. But here we are, enjoying our food, families and friends. We have so much to be grateful for. Meanwhile, if we can help out in some way, let's do so. Not all of us can be in Sichuan like my friend, but we can contact the local Red Cross for our part. It's not too late to chip in for Myanmar too.

Update as at 9pm: CNN says quake toll could hit 50,000! And nearly 400 dams are damaged, causing risk of floods!


  1. It's really very sad one disaster riding on the wave of another. We are indeed blessed but no country is full-proof now against natural disasters, Singapore included. Who would have ever heard of hailstones in Singapore??

  2. it's even more significant coming from a mother's point of view.

    we should do what can and must do to assist. i thought redcross was a rather convenient way to make a contribution.

  3. It's sad, really... Putting neglegence aside, to be frank, it's simply sad...

    The one-child policy related to this story makes it pretty sad after all. It'd be an everlasting trauma for the parents.

    Being in the disaster-free region of the world, if we can help, we should, in any way.

  4. Sigh, the chains of misfortune happening so close to home further reminds us of how fortunate we all are are.

    Some of my Burmese friends here haven been able to reach their parent since the disaster strucked.

    God bless them.

  5. actually,
    'authorities not letting parents search the school for their kids', its more of the safety for the parents too. the ruins are not safe too, its hard to please everyone either ways.

  6. Yeah I just hope the situation doesn't turn worse with massive flooding if/when some of the old dams break.

    True, not letting the parents search for their kids is partly for their own safety, but the poor parents - two whole days of not knowing whether child is dead or alive and not being able to do a single thing about it. One of the parents cited said their child's body was still warm when they finally found her. So sad.


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