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Families finding hope after quake

China, May 7, 2013

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  <span class="field-credit">
    Hu Ke for Mercy Corps  </span>
    Sixty-year-old Ms. Yang was outside her family home when the earthquake struck. “I was so scared I couldn’t even call out to my granddaughter,” who was inside doing homework. Photo: Hu Ke for Mercy Corps
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  <span class="field-credit">
    Hu Ke for Mercy Corps  </span>
    Luckily, her granddaughter Jiangrong, 12, ran out of the damaged two-story brick, concrete and timber house moments before it collapsed. Photo: Hu Ke for Mercy Corps
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  <span class="field-credit">
    Hu Ke for Mercy Corps  </span>
    Families now live in tents provided by the government. They also received emergency distributions of food and water immediately after the disaster, but many other needs are still not met. Photo: Hu Ke for Mercy Corps
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  <span class="field-credit">
    Hu Ke for Mercy Corps  </span>
    Villagers told the Mercy Corps team about shortages of clean water and fuel for cooking and heating, exacerbated by the rainy season and cool temperatures at night. Photo: Hu Ke for Mercy Corps
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  <span class="field-credit">
    Hu Ke for Mercy Corps  </span>
    One man showed the team how he’s been trying to repair his roof as soon as he could to prevent the heavy rains from permanently damaging his family’s home. Photo: Hu Ke for Mercy Corps
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  <span class="field-credit">
    Hu Ke for Mercy Corps  </span>
    Many villagers have small gardens and pool their food together to cook simple meals in a makeshift communal kitchen. Photo: Hu Ke for Mercy Corps
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  <span class="field-credit">
    Hu Ke for Mercy Corps  </span>
    The community has banded together during the crisis. “For the first several days after the quake, I was crying every day,” said Ms. Yang. “Now every day people come to help, and I can smile again.” Photo: Hu Ke for Mercy Corps
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  <span class="field-credit">
    Hu Ke for Mercy Corps  </span>
    Mr. Shang (in black jacket) was already familiar with Mercy Corps — when he was a school administrator, his students were involved in our Comfort for Kids program after the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. Now a local official for the region, he’s eager to bring relief to the people of his village. Photo: Hu Ke for Mercy Corps
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  <span class="field-credit">
    Hu Ke for Mercy Corps  </span>
    Mr. Shang spoke of the need to reopen the school quickly to restore a sense of normalcy for children, who don’t have much to occupy themselves in the now-familiar blue emergency tents. Photo: Hu Ke for Mercy Corps
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  <span class="field-credit">
    Hu Ke for Mercy Corps  </span>
    Mercy Corps is beginning Comfort for Kids here and in other affected areas, providing safe spaces, counselors and activities to help children process and recover from the trauma of the earthquake. Photo: Hu Ke for Mercy Corps
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  <span class="field-credit">
    Hu Ke for Mercy Corps  </span>
    We also began distributing hygiene kits last week, containing items such as soap, toothbrushes, diapers and other essentials to help those displaced stay healthy until they can return home. Photo: Hu Ke for Mercy Corps

In the two weeks since a 7.0 earthquake rocked the Ya’an prefecture in central China, our emergency response team, working with the China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation, has traveled to some of the most remote villages help families in the wake of the disaster.

Here are photos and stories from Shangba village, where nearly every one of the 300 homes was destroyed in the quake. Our team is focused on helping families stay healthy in poor conditions and supporting children through the trauma.

READ MORE: Notes from the epicenter of the Ya'an earthquake