Reporting from China

Kate Redman, media officer for Save the Children, reports exclusively for marieclaire.co.uk from China..

Kate Redman, media officer for Save the Children, reports exclusively for marieclaire.co.uk from China…

Just 48 hours ago I was trying on frilly bridesmaids dresses in a John Lewis changing room in Birmingham. Now I’m in China. Or, should I say, now I’m in an earthquake zone. Quite a lot to get your head around

On arrival through Beijing airport, I was told by Save the Children’s country director that Chengdu, the capital of the province hit by last Monday’s quake, had broken out in a panic last night. Rumours had spread that another enormous earthquake was about to rock its foundations. People are now camping out on any open space they can find. Our staff rushed out to buy a tent (now a precious commodity) and find some space in a city park.

Our flight to Chengdu was delayed by an hour. Journalists snooped around taking photos of all those waiting to get back to their families watching pictures of more rescues and state press conferences on the news. On arrival at Chengdu, after being trodden on in a bad case of overcrowding around the conveyor belt delivering box after box of aid, we realised our bags had been lost and retreated to a taxi. Not before I saw a pigs trotter sticking out of someone’s handbag though.

In our thankfully solid hotel, we had a brief from the staff here. Now rescue operations are slowing up, with all the 3,000 and more villages finally reached by Chinese troops, it’s the turn of aid agencies like ours to step in and help the survivors. The trip will be a long one – the length of a life time for some. The trauma these children face, especially with over 150 aftershocks since last week, that just serve as reminders for what they’ve all been through, is going be hard to budge. I felt comforted hearing the plan of action in the brief by one of the two child psychologists arriving in a couple of hours. It’s a relief to know there’s a solid process for helping these children recover.

As I tried to sleep at 1 in the morning, I received a text from a journalist: ‘All I want to know is how many children have died?’ Not a nice note to go to sleep on. The toll here has been a heavy one. I guess I’ll find out just how heavy when I meet children and their families tomorrow.

Check back tomorrow for more updates from Kate.

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