Déjà vu: Earthquake in Haiti Echoes in Chinese Hearts

By Liu Qiong
0 CommentsPrint E-mail China Today, March 5, 2010
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Every street we walked down, the locals would warmly greet us by chanting "China" in the Haitian Creole language," Zhong Jianqin wrote in his diary. "We are taking concrete action to deepen the Haitian people's understanding of the Chinese." This was the second time that the 35-year-old police officer had served in Haiti for peacekeeping operations since December 2007.

The diary was returned to his mother country with its author's body on January 19, 2010, along with the remains of Zhong's seven fellow Chinese peacekeepers, tragic victims of the recent earthquake in Haiti.

On January 12, Haiti, a small island country located in the West Indies, was struck with an earthquake that registered at 7.3 on the Richter Scale. The epicenter based only 16 kilometers away from Port-au-Prince, the country's capital, with a population of two million. This was Haiti's worst earthquake in the last two centuries, killing hundreds of thousands of people, including the chief of United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (UNMIH), and eight Chinese peacekeepers.

A race against time

This sudden earthquake has placed the small country on the brink of danger, upending life in this relatively peaceful tropical island surrounded by blue skies and ocean - hundreds of thousands of people are in a dire situation, millions are now homeless with little or no proper water, food or medical supplies.

Only 36 hours after the disaster, Huang Jianfa and his Chinese International Search and Rescue Team (CISAR) stood facing the ruins of the UNMIH headquarter. They were one of the first international rescue teams to arrive in Haiti. Despite the 19-hour flight, the rescuers lost no time getting started the moment they landed on the scene.

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