One year on, love for Yushu quake survivors continues on Web

16:08, April 13, 2011      

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Orphaned last year when a 7.1-magnitude quake struck her home on April 14, Dekyi Chutso, 10, has battled loneliness ever since.

One year on, she wishes to have more story books to read to keep her from feeling lonely, because what she misses most is her mother's story-reading.

Having joined an online donation program that seeks celebrities to fulfill wishes of 60 quake orphans, Dekyi's wish went public Monday on, a popular Twitter-like Chinese microblog run by Sina, a major Chinese news portal.

Since then, her wish had attracted nearly 300 replies pledging donations, while the program, jointly held by Weibo and Qinghai TV, had attracted over 9,000 posts as of Wednesday afternoon.

Over the past year since the quake, which left over 2,200 dead, people have held online prayer sessions for the survivors and donated generously via the Internet to help them get their lives back in order.

The quake last year flattened the entire town of Gyegu, the epicenter and seat of Yushu prefectural government, leaving more than 100,000 residents homeless. Yushu is located in the northwestern province of Qinghai and inhabited largely by Tibetans.

Since the disaster hit, donations have poured in.

As of July 9 last year, nearly 10.66 billion yuan (1.6 billion U.S. dollars) worth of funds and goods were donated to help Yushu's reconstruction efforts. Earlier that month, the government had started a three-year reconstruction plan with a planned investment of 31.7 billion yuan.

"Is the Child Magazine ok? It has many good stories. Please tell me the address, post code, and recipient," said a web user, who goes by the name of Ning, in a reply on the website.

One after another, web users have left messages pledging books and requesting further information on how to deliver their donations.

Other charity programs via the Internet include several book-donation activities school children in the quake region and fund-raising.

A search on "Yushu quake" on Weibo, which has 56.5 percent of China's microblog market share, found that over 150,000 entries with the phrase had been posted in the last 24 hours.

Among these entries, some express good wishes for Yushu, some praise the fortitude of the people there, and some recall the moment they first heard of the devastating quake.

One entry from Gyaco, a Tibetan living buddha who has 281,646 followers on, starts with recollecting his heart-wrenching grief following the quake, but ends in a hopeful prayer.

"To those who passed away in the quake, please rest in peace wherever you are now. Your home is now under reconstruction...Every pious believer like us prays for you with our palms crossed," it said.

Another microblog user "Chen Gang" noted that religion may help console the people in Yushu, many of them Tibetan Buddhists, as the one-year anniversary arrives on Thursday.

There were thousands of monasteries, including 194 large or medium ones, in the region before the quake. The number of monks, nuns and other religious personnel there is estimated at 23,000, according to local government data.

The Chinese government last year launched a massive project to spend millions of dollars to restore 87 damaged monasteries in the prefecture.

"People's faith in religion is more solid than any building," Chen Gang said on Weibo. com.

Source: Xinhua
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