New-borns christened to remember China quake

Beijing, April 24 (IANS) Mothers in quake-hit areas in southwest China named their new-borns with characters like “luck” and “quake” to mark their births after the devastating earthquake.

Over a dozen babies have been delivered in make-shift tents or even in the open air since the 7.0-magnitude quake jolted Ya’an city in Sichuan province on Saturday, leaving over 200 people dead or missing and injuring hundreds of others, reported Xinhua.

Two babies have been named “Zhensheng”, meaning “born in quake”. One was delivered in Ya’an and another in Lushan county near the epicenter, both shortly after the quake that struck at 8.02 a.m..

“We’ve decided to name her ‘Zhensheng’ to commemorate her special birthday,” said Zhang Min, who gave birth in the yard of Lushan People’s Hospital after strong tremors damaged the building.

Another baby girl born in that hospital was given the pet name “Lutian”, or “open air”.

“I was about to be taken to the operating table when the earthquake hit. I was jolted onto the ground, and the wall near me collapsed with a crash — it was really scary,” said mother Lu Tao.

With the help of her families and medical staff, Lu was painstakingly moved to a lawn outside the building, where she gave birth to the girl about two hours later.

“The last character of her given name would be ‘ping’ of the word ‘pingan’ (meaning safe or peace), as we wish her a peaceful life, and never again will she experience disasters like this,” said the baby’s grandmother.

Zhang Jing, who delivered a girl Monday morning in Baoxing after the quake cut off communications and material supplies to the county, named her baby “Yuanyuan”, meaning destiny or luck.

Zhang said her doctors in the make-shift operating room laboured for two hours, struggling with regular aftershocks and a lack of electricity and water, for the baby to be born safely.

News of the “earthquake babies” has been greeted with good wishes on internet.

“You’re born at a hard time, so be tough, and be grateful, especially to your mother, who has endured more to give you life,” said one comment on Sina Weibo, a popular microblogging site in China.

Some babies have been transferred to other cities as local make-shift tents lacked nursery facilities.

The city is also expecting more “earthquake babies” as pregnant women wait for their imminent delivery.

Among them is Luo Zifen, who is 38 weeks into her pregnancy. Suffering a fracture in one leg after being hit by falling bricks, Luo made her way out of the rubble and was later offered a ride to a hospital.

At a temporary center, Luo was bandaged up but did not receive an X-ray examination or further medication.

“The pain is killing me,” said Luo. “But I can bear it, as long as it’s for my baby.”

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