|We have heard stories of tragedy since the Sichuan - Wenchuan Earthquake, but we have also seen the signs of recovery and hope.|
Today is also a day of reflection for me. I am thinking about all of the people we have met in Sichuan over the last year who have been affected by the earthquake – the millions who have lost their homes, their land and their livelihood. I am also thinking about the many, many people who have lost loved ones – their children, parents, husbands, wives, sisters, brothers and friends. I have met and spoken with some of these survivors over the last year and they are in my mind today.
I have been thinking about a young woman – a government official we met just six weeks after the quake – who lost her daughter. I am also thinking about a man who told us how he had dug himself out of the rubble with his own hands two days after the quake and who had returned to work immediately to help his community start rebuilding. I am thinking about an old lady who had saved her 7-month-old grandson from high up in an apartment building, but who said she would never enter a building with stairs again because it reminded her too vividly of that day. And most of all, I am thinking about all the people in Sichuan who are working day and night to help these people rebuild their lives. I have immense admiration for their dedication and sense of purpose.
|In June 2008, I didn't recognize what I saw as being China, but now I do, because now I see the resilience of the Chinese people and I see hope returning.|
Today, the Chinese Government has declared May 12 as "Disaster Prevention and Reduction Day". This is a great step to raise awareness in China of the continued dangers that the country faces from natural disasters and to educate the Chinese people that the reduction and prevention of future disasters is equally important as rebuilding. I am very optimistic that the tragedy of the Wenchuan Earthquake will become a turning point for China to move toward a more resilient future.
Editor's note: See more posts on the Sichuan - Wenchuan earthquake here.