Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation

Aug 07th
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Home Global Activities Asia Sichuan Earthquake - Growing up overnight

Sichuan Earthquake - Growing up overnight

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Growing up overnight
Weiming, 6, and his brother Xiaohao, a junior high school student, used to live with their father in Beichuan while their mother worked in Shanghai, about 1,300 miles to the east. After the quake, the brothers walked with their uncle for two days before they finally reached a public shelter in Jinshan. One week had passed since the quake and there was still no news about their father.

Tzu Chi volunteers were making their rounds in the tent city, offering what help they could, when they came across a languid Xiaohao. "I miss my daddy," Xiaohao managed to say, haltingly. A volunteer held him tight and said, "Child, go ahead and cry if you feel like it." That totally unraveled what little composure Xiaohao had mustered. "I'm worried about my dad! I'm scared of losing him."

No sooner had Xiaohao started crying than Weiming joined him. The volunteers offered the wailing young boys solace. "Let's pray together that your dad is well. Be strong. Your mother will be back to see you in a few days."

May 19-21, 2008 were national days of mourning for quake victims. Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may soon afflict many of the survivors, emergency response personnel, and others working at the disaster scenes. The PTSD will be one of the key elements that must be properly handled in the near future.

Tzu Chi Disaster Relief Team:
Huang Zi-ling, Zhao Bai-xun, Chen Juan-yuan, Qiu De-huang, Wu Hong, Liao Ming-ren, and Xu Tong-yi
Translated by Tang Yau-yang and Wu Hsiao-ting
Photographs by Hsiao Yiu-hwa

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