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One Year Later, A Postcard From Chengdu

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One Year Later, A Postcard From Chengdu

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One Year Later, A Postcard From Chengdu

One Year Later, A Postcard From Chengdu

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NPR's Melissa Block returns to Chengdu, China, the site of last year's devastating earthquake. She offers this audio postcard in advance of her series from China that starts Monday on 'All Things Considered.'

JACKI LYDEN, host:

We'll turn to China now and to Sichuan Province, where a year ago, that devastating earthquake left 90,000 people dead or missing and millions more homeless.

My colleague, Melissa Block, was there when the quake hit last May. Now, she's back in China with a series that starts tomorrow on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED about how people's lives have changed.

MELISSA BLOCK, host:

This week, I'll have stories about survival, anger, grief and determination: the survival of a girl whose legs were crushed when her school collapsed around her, the anger of parents whose children were killed in those schools and have found no justice. We'll hear about the enduring sadness of a couple who lost their only child and are struggling to rebuild their family, and about the determination of the people here, including the millions left homeless.

Many have spent the last year living in crude shacks they've cobbled together from bits of scrap. Countless others are living in prefab barracks in crowded camps, new cities, really, you see them all over Sichuan. And in one of these prefab clusters, in the Danon(ph) Camp, I met a woman named Yan Kafong(ph).

Ms. YAN KAFONG: (Speaking foreign language)

BLOCK: She shares a small, cramped room with her husband and two daughters. I stopped in this village because it was such a dramatic sight. Right behind acres of these prefab barracks, I saw row after row of new houses going up, two-story structures laced with wooden scaffolding. That's where Yan Kafong and her family will move. She says her new house will be smaller than her old house but stronger, but she tells me there's been a hitch. Construction has suddenly stopped.

Ms. KAFONG: (Speaking foreign language)

BLOCK: Yan Kafong says the village leaders are supposed to be paying the workers, but they haven't been paying them, so the workers had a strike. Right there on the road, they actually had a fight, and they left. So, no one's working on the houses right now.

That must be very frustrating for you. You have a house that's partway built. You must want to get out of this one room with your family.

She says it's very frustrating. Summer's coming. It's going to get very hot in this camp, and she's seeing families from another part of their village who've already moved into their new homes.

Are you angry at the village leaders?

Ms. KAFONG: (Speaking foreign language)

BLOCK: Sure, I'm angry, really angry, Yan Kafong says. The officials are supposed to serve the people, but it seems they've totally forgotten us. Just one of the frustrations here in Sichuan as people try to rebuild their lives.

Starting tomorrow and continuing through the week on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, I'll have stories on the aftermath of the Sichuan earthquake one year later. In Sichuan, China, I'm Melissa Block.

(Soundbite of music)

LYDEN: And you can hear the stories from Melissa's reporting last year and see photos of how China is rebuilding on our Web site, npr.org. You are listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

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