Xiaoyu Xie

Sichuan Farm Village Gets Supplies

Xiaoyu Xie at Village

hide captionVillagers take effort to shade NPR's Robert Siegel and Xiaoyu Xie even though it is they who have been devastated by an earthquake.

Photo by Chris Turpin, NPR

The earthquake destroyed most houses in Red Flag village. On our first visit, the situation was quite bleak; food and water were in short supply.

Three days later, we returned.

The situation improved markedly since our first visit. We saw villagers beginning to salvage whatever they can from the ruins of what used to be their homes. The scene was strangely serene: People looked up from their salvage operation, waved and said "hello;" children, without a school to go back to, followed us, laughing all the way.

We were quickly surrounded by a dozen villagers, some of them held umbrellas over our heads protecting us from the blazing sun. "Thank you so much for coming all this way to our village. Thank you for caring about us," they said over and over. That is the refrain we hear everywhere we go.
Wherever we stop, people come and share their stories with us. Most of those stories are sad, and some, devastating. As millions of evacuees struggle to put back together their shattered lives, the challenges they face are enormous. In Red Flag village, rebuilding is on its way, it seems. A villager said to us, "thanks to the government and the relief volunteers, we now have enough water and food. But we still need more and better tents. It's the harvest season, we need more tents to store our grains. Then we can begin to take care of ourselves."

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Thanks a lot for sharing the story with us. It's great to hear that the situation is improving. I have always been amazed how human beings show their kind nature under such difficult circumstances.

Sent by Anne from Virgnia | 10:20 AM | 5-20-2008

Thanks for the story!

Sent by Kennis | 12:44 PM | 5-20-2008

The kindness and hospitality shown by the earthquake survivors reminds me of the anecdote my mother told me about how my grandparents' families shared food and shelter with strangers during the most difficult time of famine that hit China in the 1960's and Cultural Revolution. I believe this kind of altruism is ingrained in Chinese people.

Sent by Jessica Lu | 6:40 PM | 5-20-2008

Thank you NPR ATC! I really appreciate the touching stories you brought to us from Sichuan under the difficult sirumstances!

Sent by Annie | 6:48 PM | 5-23-2008

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