Friday, May 16, 2008

Quake Fatigue

It's Day 5 of the earthquake and now I and many of my colleagues are suffering from quake fatigue.

One is tired from crying last night after hearing the number of dead may jump to 50,000. Officially now it's 22,069.

Others are exhausted from being glued to the TV and wanting to know the latest developments.

President Hu Jintao finally decided to show his face and tag-team Premier Wen Jiabao in encouraging rescuers, soldiers and medical staff to continue their tireless work.

But now the bodies are starting to pile up and they are trying to bury them or cremate them as soon as possible.

What's interesting is that Chinese state media doesn't want to report this situation, while for foreign media, this is a major issue. They report bodies everywhere, and not enough body bags, while Chinese reporters are still focusing on rescue efforts, as if they're in denial.

Up until now coverage has been pretty much transparent. But if the government thinks it can keep the nation's hopes up for more survivors, they will be in for great disappointment.

For my coworkers in their 20s, this is their 9/11. They have never seen such horrific things happen to their fellow countrymen or to their homeland.

But less five months earlier we had another natural disaster -- the winter storms that paralyzed most parts of China in late January.

Despite some people who died from the cold, the majority didn't have the same compassion they're showing now. At that time everyone was thinking of going home for Spring Festival, not worrying about the tens of thousands of mostly migrant workers stuck at train stations who were desperate to get back to loved ones they hadn't seen in one or many years.

People seem to have forgotten this group that have literally built the country's cities with their hands, preferring to ignore them or deride them for their country bumpkin appearance and attitudes.

Nevertheless, the Chinese are firmly united in this latest cause. But if the government doesn't act quickly to give people what they need, from medical care, housing, food and counseling, China's leaders will have another crisis on its hands and not everyone will be on the government's side.


ks said...

we have to give credit to the chinese government for their openness and swiftness allowing foreign expert aid in the quake rescue effort. we have to admire the down to earth approach of the leaders in comforting the victims and encouraging the rescue workers.

Airchild said...

Did you feel the quake and after quakes at all in Beijing?

Good comparison of the two disasters...

It is so sad that a whole generation of kids in some towns are wiped out. I wonder if the government would allow the surviving parents to have another kid down the line?

OTC said...

News today suggested the gov indicated those lost their only child can go for another.

We are trying to aid Chinese dam inspection to prevent a second wave of act of nature.