| Related Channel News|
Gan Junda cherishes the photos taken last year in China's Sichuan province, where he participated in the disaster relief effort after the devastating earthquake that killed tens of thousands of people.
The people in the photos, though injured, smiled at the camera, revealing strong wills after enduring the difficulties they experienced because of the magnitude-8 earthquake that also left many people wounded, missing or homeless.
Gan, a 26-year-old doctor who immigrated to Moscow from Chongqing with his parents 20 years ago, volunteered to join the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry's medical team that was sentto the temblor-stricken province.
"I was watching TV reports about the Wenchuan earthquake. I saw that parents had lost their children and people lost their beloved ones," Gan said. "I felt so grieved and decided to do something for them."
The experience in the quake-stricken region has become one of the Chinese-Russian doctor's most unforgettable memories. The one-year anniversary of the May 12, 2008, earthquake that hit Sichuan province and other parts of southwest China has been marked with red ink on his calendar.
Gan arrived in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan, with the Russian medical team on May 20 of last year. The team flew in on a plane that also brought tents, medical equipment, medicine, water and food and immediately went to Pengzhou, one of the areas hit hardest by the earthquake.
Doctors and nurses shuttled back and forth in the shelters, striving to help as many victims as they could.
"It was muggy there and some doctors got heatstroke, but everyone tried their best to save the injured," Gan said. "I felt gratified as well for what I did for my compatriots."
Some of the victims were nervous when they saw foreigners, Gan said. On one occasion, a Russian doctor was ready to operate on a 10-year-old boy but the youth was so frightened that the operation could not be immediately performed.
Gan said he spoke to the boy in a Sichuan dialect and calmed him down so the doctor could complete the operation.
The Russian medical team treated about 1,500 patients, performed more than 200 operations and offered psychological consultations during its 15-day stay in the devastated region.
The doctor said he and his coworkers cultivated deep friendships with the local residents during their stay.
"I've been missing them all the time," he said.
Gan was concerned about the victims when he went back to Moscow. He returned to Pengzhou two months later to visit the injured that he had helped. He also discussed psychological rehabilitation for the victims with colleagues still working there.
"A girl patient gave me a painting, in which there is a big hand holding a small hand," the doctor said. "Pointing to the picture, she said: 'This is my hand and the other is Mom's, but Mom has left.'"
Recuperation is a long process for the victims, especially for the children who lost their parents and relatives because they need constant care, Gan said.
Gan made up his mind to get a doctor's degree in rehabilitation medicine when he returned to Moscow, in the hope that in the future he will be able to give more assistance to the quake-stricken region.
The doctor now is busy with studies and work but he still follows the lives of the quake victims and has a message for them.
"No matter how far away we are from you, we will support you. You are the strongest and the disaster shall not crush you!" Gan said.