New outfit for Hualien earthquake victim as he leaves the world

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Most of Hualien earthquake victims' body swelled, being too borken to recognized. 76 undertakers volunteered to make up and fix the bodies to let the victims leave with dignity. (photo by CNA)

Taipei, Feb. 12 (CNA) Twelve-year-old Chinese Yang Haoran (楊浩然), one of 17 people who died in a magnitude 6.0 earthquake in eastern Taiwan county of Hualien last week, has been given a new outfit by a team of morticians so he can leave this world with radiance and style.

“Yang Haoran, I hope you like the clothes I bought for you,” Angela Wang (王薇君), a longtime fighter for abused children and the chairwoman of the Taiwan Children’s Rights Promotion Association, wrote on her Facebook page.

Wang put together a team of morticians that has assisted the family members of Hualien earthquake victims in restoring the deformed remains of their loved ones since Feb. 8, two days after the deadly earthquake struck and left 17 people dead and 285 injured.

Upon seeing Yang, Wang wanted to do something for him, “wanted to give him something,” she said in Hualien on Sunday. With that in mind, she went to shop for the boy in the hope that he would depart for the heavens looking good, Wang said.

Because the corpse of the boy and his parents were bloated and so badly deformed that they were difficult to recognize, Yang’s team took the initiative to offer its assistance after prosecutors completed autopsies on the trio on Sunday.

Yang’s body was dug out by rescue personnel on Saturday along with those of his father Yang Jie (楊捷), 39, and mother Ding Shouhui (丁守慧), 40, from the Yun Men Tsui Ti building, one of four buildings that partially collapsed in Hualien City in the Feb. 6 temblor.

The Yangs, along with their grandparents Ding Wenchang (丁文昌) and He Fenghua (何鳯華), aged 76 and 75, were vacationing in Hualien when the earthquake occurred.

The bodies of the grandparents remain trapped in the rubble of the severely tilted building, and efforts to retrieve them continue even though the rescue mission ended on Sunday.

The Yang boy was the youngest of the 17 earthquake victims, 14 of whom were found dead in the mixed use 12-story Yun Men Tsui Ti building.

Its ground floor was a hot pot restaurant, its second and third floors were used as a hostel called the Beauty Inn, where the Chinese family was staying, and the remaining floors were residential units.

(By Su Mu-chun and Elizabeth Hsu)