Next let's go to China for a follow-up report on this year's earthquake. It has been six months now since the earthquake that left almost 88,000 people dead or missing and five million people homeless. As winter approaches, the disaster victims are struggling. That's what NPR's Louisa Lim found out when she revisited one family in the quake zone.

LOUISA LIM: The first time I met Zhan Fulan, four days after the earthquake, she was burying her mother-in-law. The old lady had died when the family house had collapsed onto her.

(Soundbite of NPR report, May 2008)

Ms. ZHAN FULAN: (Chinese spoken)

LIM: I couldn't save her, Zhan Fulan told us, tears streaming down her face as she watched her husband digging the grave. She was literally bowed over with grief. The family had also just buried a nephew and two nieces who died in the ruins of their school.

(Soundbite of NPR report, May 2008)

Ms. ZHAN: (Through Translator) I don't want to live here after this. There's no work, and I'm scared of aftershocks.

LIM: Now we've got to their house, and it is just completely flattened. There's just an enormous pile of concrete and bricks and planks of wood, but there's nothing that lets you imagine how this could have once been a house.

In July, seven weeks after the quake, I went back to Hongbai village to track her down. I could scarcely recognize this beaming woman who laughed as she clasped my hand.

(Soundbite of NPR report, July 2008)

Ms. ZHAN: (Through Translator) I feel much better now. After my mother-in-law died, I was so sad. I couldn't speak. A new prefab town had already been built. Some 2,000 people were being resettled into tidy rows of blue-roofed huts. Zhan Fulan showed me around the prefab she shares with her husband and 26-year-old son, pointing out the beds, the quilts, and wardrobe.

(Soundbite of NPR report, July 2008)

Ms. ZHAN: (Through Translator) Everything was given to us by other people. We didn't have a thing.

(Soundbite of sweeping)

LIM: As the displaced cleaned their new houses, there was a sense of optimism, excitement even, and gratitude to the government for organizing this shelter over their heads. Now, six months after the quake, I've come in search of Zhan Fulan again. It's morning exercise time at the prefab school. I've been told she's working in the school kitchens. When I find her, she still looks cheerful, but life isn't easy. She's only filling in for someone who's sick. She and her husband remain unemployed, like an estimated 80 percent of the disaster victims. For the first three months they lived off government handouts. Now Zhan Fulan and her husband depend on their 26-year-old son, who like so many of the young has gone to a nearby city to look for a job.

Ms. ZHAN: (Through Translator) Our son doesn't come back much. There's no space for him in the prefab. He can't find a girlfriend or think about marriage as there's nowhere for them to live.

(Soundbite of children laughing)

LIM: At the school, the students line up clutching their lunch bowls. Almost one-quarter of the town's schoolchildren died in the quake. The community is still dealing with grief, trauma, and the stress of losing everything they've ever worked for.

Ms. ZHAN: (Through Translator) The quake has changed our characters. My husband gets angry easily. So do I.

LIM: As she washes dishes, it's clear reality has set in. It's bitterly cold already. The local government has given out electric blankets and heaters, but the flimsy prefabs will provide little warmth once the snow starts falling. Reconstruction hasn't yet started here, though the government has pledged to spend $440 billion on post-quake building. Everyone here is waiting for the plans for the new town to be unveiled. They don't know when new houses will be built or how they'll pay for them. Zhan Fulan's land was requisitioned. It was used for prefabs, and she hasn't received any compensation yet.

Ms. ZHAN: (Through Translator) It's said the government received donations of money from many different places for disaster victims, but I don't know where that money's gone.

LIM: Throughout these months, the disaster victims' mantra has remained the same. We're waiting to see what the government will do for us. Those words, once so full of hope and confidence, are now repeated with mounting worry and desperation. Louisa Lim, NPR News, Hongbai, Sichuan, China.

INSKEEP: And you can hear Louisa Lim's report about Zhan Fulan from six months ago and see pictures of it at our Web site,

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