Mon, February 16, 2009
World > Asia-Pacific > Deadly bushfire in Australia

Chinese victim of Australia bushfires: "Where there's life and family, there's hope"

2009-02-15 15:48:50 GMT2009-02-15 23:48:50 (Beijing Time)  

by Zhang Yashi, Jiang Yaping

MELBOURNE, Feb. 15 (Xinhua) -- "I was speechless, that's what I could only say," Richard Twan, the only Chinese among the 7,000 bushfires victims, told Xinhua how he felt when seeing his 30-acregarden totally ruined.

Twan, 43, had been living in Kinglake, 60 kilometers north of Melbourne, since he first came to Australia from Taiwan 7 years ago. Since then, he started growing flowers on his land and selling them to the market.

When the fierce firestorm struck, Twan was in town with his wife and son selling flowers.

"I wasn't there when it came, my friend called and told me that my garden was entirely burnt," he said that it would take five years or more to recover the garden.

Due to his neighbors' effort of putting the fire out, Twan's house had been prevented from being destroyed.

The flower wholesaler could earn as much as 70,000 Australian dollars (about 50,000 U.S. dollars) a year. But after the fire, his whole business was lost.

"I can only do it all over again," said Twan, adding that he could not get new machines for redoing the garden until he got paid from the insurance company.

Although the land was ruined and he became moneyless, the father of a 11-year-old boy felt lucky to have his family by his side.

"Chinese can go through rough times. Where there's life and family, there's hope," said Twan.

He said that he decided to find a job to earn a living while rebuilding his garden.

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