From the darkness of disaster…


I first met Maya Gurung last year, a few days after a massive earthquake struck Nepal. Maya was recovering from the amputation of her left leg at a Kathmandu hospital.

I wrote a story about her  because I wondered how a little girl would fare in Kashi Gaon, the remote and rugged village in Gorkha District, where she lived. It would be hard for her without the use of a leg; her future seemed bleak.

Then a second quake hit Nepal on May 12. And Maya’s life trajectory changed again.

Ahead of the first anniversary of the quake, I returned to Nepal for CNN to find out how Maya was doing. I believe hers is a story of something good happening from something very bad.

You can read the story on A ray of hope for one girl in Nepal


A Haitian tragedy

I sat at work last night writing the main Haiti earthquake story for CNN Wires and my mind raced back to 2001, when I was in the Indian state of Gujarat, covering the massive quake that also struck on a January day.

Families, separated. Mothers searching for their babies. Husbands clawing throwing rubble in the hope of hearing their wife’s voice somewhere — under mountains of rubble. Dust-caked faces. Bloodied bodies. Unidentifiable flesh and bones.

In Haiti, the people are desperately dependent on foreign aid. Foreign medicine. Foreign doctors. The Caribbean country, the poorest n the Western hemisphere and one of the poorest in the entire world, has hardly the resources to save their own.

I thought, too, of walking nine blocks of rubble in the northern Iraqi city of Tal Afar, disgusted by the work of a suicide bomber who had detonated massive amounts of TNT and destroyed the lives of thousands.

Nature’s fury and man-made horrors.

The end result is the same. Tragedy. Magnified in parts of the world without money, without the ability to help their own.

Life means no less in war-ravaged, strife-torn, impoverished nations. But we are somehow dulled to the plight of ordinary men and women who live in places like that. Think how you would feel if your child was missing after the earth convulsed for several minutes in your town. If you didn’t know whether a loved one had died. Or if you were holding the dead in your arms.

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