Faces of China: A new shelter
An impoverished family faces uncertainty after a devastating flood washes away their home.
In 2006, the Guangdong province of southern China suffered its worst floods in a century. Freak storms brought heavy rainfall. Houses were submerged, people were left stranded and daily life in the agricultural region was devastated.
When the world’s media quickly moved on from the story, filmmakers Xiaolei Zheng and Lin Li decided to stay behind. They spent 12 months following one family as they struggled to build a new life in the face of adversity.
Life has been a constant struggle for the Ah family, but when a terrible flood destroyed their home in a small village it became a nightmare.
Fortunately, Ah Liang, his wife Xiang and their two children and dog found shelter in a neighbour’s unused shack. But they knew it was only temporary.
As they hesitantly embarked on the almost insurmountable task of building a new house – with their crop destroyed, they had no source of income – they discovered what solidarity, or the lack of it, can mean when disaster strikes.
The couple’s relationship was taken to the brink of crisis and family ties were threatened as they confronted the attitudes of local and regional government and found that the disaster policies in place are insufficient for the very poor.
As they encountered obstacles, both material and emotional, the family came to realise that there is more to making a home than laying bricks on top of each other.