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In aftermath of mudslides, volunteers rush to help traumatized survivors

08-24-2010 08:33 BJT Special Report:China Fights Worst Flood in Decades |

PULADI TOWNSHIP, Yunan Province, Aug. 23 (Xinhua) -- Yu Xiaoming sits on a wooden bench, flanked by his two best friends. His white-and-blue striped shirt is incongruous with the shack his family lives in.

Yu had worn this shirt for his only sister, who bought it for him while she was still alive. On Aug. 18, torrential mudslides swallowed an iron mine factory where his sister worked as a cook, burying her.

It will take some time for the 16-year-old to heal. His father passed away soon after he was born. And now, the loss of another loved one in a family of four is too much for the introverted 16-year-old to deal with.

Yang Zhenmei, a volunteer psychology counselor from the provincial capital Kunming, traveled 930 km to the disaster area to offer help for young people like Yu.

She held a brief psychological intervention session with the boy, had patient conservations with him and told him to refrain from aggressive behavior. She also told him to call her if he feels overwhelmed by difficulties.

But not many people are as lucky as Yu, who receives the kind of psychological services rarely seen in Litoudi Village, a remote mountainous village in China's southwest Yunnan Province, which borders Myanmar. In a village with a population of a little more than 150, medical resources are scarce.

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