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May 1, 2010

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Quake orphans' delight at visit to World Expo

TWO orphans who survived the earthquake that shook northwest China's Qinghai Province two weeks ago were among the VIPs who witnessed the World Expo's opening ceremony last night.

Kekyi Wangmo and Jangba Tsering, still haunted by the nightmarish quake that jolted their hometown in the Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Yushu last month, seemed excited but shy in the spotlight before last night's glittering celebrations.

"Frankly speaking, I'm still scared (of the quake)," said Kekyi Wangmo, 11, in broken Mandarin. "It's a pleasure indeed to visit Shanghai and all the Expo facilities."

The girl has just recovered from her foot injuries, but the psychological trauma inflicted by the quake and the deaths of her loved ones, will take much longer to heal.

She and Jangba Tsering won many hearts when they visited the Expo sites that straddle the Huangpu River.

Other children who had been invited to last night's opening gala offered them gifts ranging from satchels, books and stationery to clothing.

"I'd love to have a Barbie, too," said Kekyi Wangmo with a beaming smile.

The children also spent time with their peers at a Shanghai juvenile center and learned to make puppets of Haibao, the blue mascot doll of the Expo.

Throughout their Shanghai visit, they are being accompanied by teachers from their hometown, doctors and volunteers.

At least 2,200 people died and more than 100,000 were left homeless when the magnitude-7.1 earthquake rocked Yushu Prefecture on April 14.

The whole nation was involved in donating of cash and supplies and helping with relief work.


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