PENG YIN­ING REPORTER’S LOG Lit­tle crea­tures, big prob­lems

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA -

It’s not a good idea to take a walk around the field hos­pi­tal at night. The ex­cess wa­ter brought by the typhoon has turned the farm­land around the hos­pi­tal into a swamp. The cracked side­walks of the only pass­able road are lit­tered with holes, some so deep that they are death traps. Snakes, toads and other mys­te­ri­ous crea­tures star­tled by my flash­light, slith­ered, hopped or scur­ried away around my feet.

Three dogs were sniff­ing around, dig­ging for some­thing in a pile of de­bris. They were close to the graves of two peo­ple who had died in the typhoon. Wooden crosses bear­ing their names — Amado May­orga and Wal­ter Castil­lon — had been stabbed into the soggy ground.

As I turned round, I dis­cov­ered that I was the center of at­ten­tion of least five stray dogs, their green eyes star­ing hard at the bag of bread in my hand.

Maybe I should have sneaked away qui­etly, but with­out think­ing, I started to run and was tripped once, good­ness knows what by, on the way back to my tent.

Equipped with elec­tric­ity and run­ning wa­ter, the tents were the safest places on land. They pro­tected us from the larger dan­gers, but not the smaller ones, es­pe­cially mos­qui­toes.

The dis­as­ter has left count­less deep pud­dles and the hu­mid weather has en­abled the mos­qui­toes to breed in­sanely quickly. They buzzed around us like tiny bombers. You could eas­ily kill a dozen or so by ran­domly clap­ping your hands above your head. Hiding safely in­side a mos­quito net, you could hear the an­noy­ing sound they made.

“We are fine sleep­ing in the nets, but if you touch the sides, the mos­qui­toes will bite you through the mesh,” said Liu Di, the head of the field hos­pi­tal, who had been liv­ing in his tent for more than a week. “Their bites itch and swell up, but much worse, they trans­mit dis­eases. They’re only small crea­tures, but they’ve brought big prob­lems for the peo­ple in the dis­as­ter area.”

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