Romance, and Slow Recovery, in a Quake-Devastated Chinese County

Edward Wong reports for the New York Times on the status of recovery efforts in County, one of the areas hardest hit by the May earthquake:

More than seven months after the earthquake ravaged southwestern China, new couples like Mr. Jiang and Ms. Zhu are one sign that, psychologically at least, there have been the beginnings of a recovery. About 370 couples here in the devastated county of Beichuan have registered to remarry, and the local government plans to hold a matchmaking fair soon, said Wang Hongfa, a county official.

But progress across the stricken region has been much slower in some critical ways, tempered by the economic downturn and the harsh conditions of winter. The earthquake left 88,000 people dead or missing and more than five million homeless.

Now, many survivors are huddled in temporary shelters without jobs, trying to stay warm with little more than blankets and hot-water bottles handed out by the government. In one area of Sichuan Province, where the destruction has been greatest, people are sleeping in subway cars donated by Beijing.



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