Friday, May 30, 2008

Earthquake Relief

Guest Blogger: Lu Meng Zheng (my sister-in-law)

I suppose that most of us know about the earthquake happened in Sichuan Province, China on 5/12/08. The earthquake is devastating to the people in Sichuan Province, my dear home province. One can obtain enormous amounts of information on the web and from NPR.

I would like to share my personal story about this earthquake. There are many pictures posted on MSNBC. Actually, I was in Sichuan province for three weeks and came back to the US on May 10 and just missed the earthquake. My only sister and her family and my mother are still there. Thanks to God, they are safe. However, their lives have been greatly affected. My sister and her family are living in DuJiangYan, which is about 20 kilometers from the earthquake epicenter on May 12, 2008. The city of Chengdu, where my mother lives, is about 100 kilometers away.

My sister, who is a teacher for the DuJiangYan City Municipal Administrative School, and my brother-in-law, who is a surgeon, have been living and working outdoors since the first shock on May 12, 2008. They first lived in their vehicle, then in a public tent. My brother-in-law worked from a tent at first since the hospital building is not safe to use, now he works from a Portable Hospital Facility donated by Germany. Since my sister works for the City (the Administrative School is considered a part of the City), she has been working as a earthquake relief staff and distributing relief material arranging from clothes to food to other necessity. Her family used to have a tent. It was donated to others. She works for the government and is called to put others’ well-being before her own.

I have been watching Chinese TV stations daily. The scenes and stories just break my heart. I was naïve and did not fully comprehend the magnitude of the impact. There have been thousands of aftershocks since May 12, 2008. The most recent bigger ones took place on May 25, 2008 and May 27, 2008 measured at 6.4 and 5.7 respectively. Since the affected area is in a mountain area, the earthquake causes so many landslides. The landslides cut off many valleys and rivers and form dams. The risks of flooding become very real.

On May 25, 2008, I called my sister, and I can feel her spirit was down. Even though it was midnight in DuJiangYan, I still can hear people were talking in the background. I asked her how she can fall into sleep. She quietly stated that “I am used to it now.” She told me that it was raining and her blanket was very damp. She also told me that one of her close friend died. One of her other friends, who is a teacher and teaches at the one of the schools, collapsed in the earthquake. The teacher had more than 50 students in her class, now she only knows that less than 20 students survived. The teacher had helped to identify 23 bodies of her students before they were cremated. The rest of them are still missing. The teacher told my sister the impossible job of identifying her student bodies, both emotional and physically, since the bodies were almost unidentifiable.

I no longer can sit still and just support my sister alone. I need to do some thing in a bigger scale. Could you please kindly join me in this effort? If you have not made a donation, could you please kindly make whatever dollar amount of donation you can? It would be greatly appreciated. Let’s do it together. One tells ten, ten tell one hundred. Let’s get the ball rolling. We will help the earthquake survivors rebuild their lives. Thank you very much!

Make donations payable to:

South Park United Presbyterian Church
505 McKinley Parkway
Buffalo, NY 14220

It should be indicated as for “Earthquake Relief in China.” A form will be sent to you for tax deduction purpose. The donation will be sent to DuJiangYan City directly.

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