During and after major disasters, the elderly are often forgotten in the rush to save everyone else. We saw it during the tsunami, during 911, during Katrina. And we’re seeing it again in China after the earthquake that struck on 12 May.

According to an article in the Washington Post, nearly 12,000 elderly Chinese lost their relatives in the quake and many more are separated from their families with their long time homes and belongings lost forever.

In a country known for its revering its elderly, China‘s economic growth has altered traditional patterns between parents and their adult children as young people concentrate on making a living.

The provincial and central government officials have promised that all elderly left homeless will be taken care of. But with this disaster, as with others, attention to this population comes late. Help Age International is a world leader in helping countries provide for the elderly in times of need. The Chinese could benefit from their assistance.