, CHINA, May 26 – At least 5,498 Chinese children have been left on their own in earthquake-ravaged Sichuan province, either because they were orphaned or separated from their parents, state media reported.
Another 4,797 elderly people were in similar difficulties with no children to support them, Xinhua news agency said in a report late Sunday, citing the government’s main disaster relief headquarters here.
The report said many of the missing parents and relatives of the elderly could be migrant workers elsewhere in China who have been unable to return home to the disaster zone following the May 12 earthquake.
The quake has left more than 62,000 people dead and over 23,000 others missing.
Sichuan is a major source of the millions of migrant laborers working in factories and other jobs in China’s more industrialised regions.
Officials said staff had been assigned to take care of the children and elderly, as well as help locate their families.