Last year, 18 orphaned earthquake survivors from Chengdu, China, came to Edmonton for a visit.

This year there are only seven, and Doreen Poon-Phillips, vice-president of the Edmonton Chinese Bilingual Education Association (ECBEA), said that might be a good sign.

“The government was telling us that a lot of the kids have been adopted out, so there’s not as great a need,” Poon-Phillips said. “That’s a great thing for us to hear.”

Poon-Phillips said the children were a little overwhelmed at first because none of them had ever been on an airplane before, but now they’re starting to settle in and have some fun.

Adrianna Chong, 12, is a volunteer who has buddied up with a young Chinese girl. Chong said it’s a good opportunity for her to help someone her age and to practice a little Mandarin.

“It’s been great,” she said. “My Chinese is not very good, so I’m learning a lot from this.”

The guests from Chengdu arrived in Edmonton a few days ago and will spend 10 days taking in events and attractions around the city.

The 2008 Sichuan earthquake, which devastated Chengdu, struck on May 12, measuring 8.0 on the Richter scale and killing at least 68,000 people.

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