To Our Readers: Jan. 31, 1994

When TIME covers earthquakes, floods and other natural disasters, we portray ordinary people at a particularly harrowing point in their lives. This week's cover photo, for example, shows California nurse Hyun Sook Lee at a moment of the most tragic grief, learning of the death of her son in the Northridge earthquake. Rarely, though, do we follow up on such people's stories. What becomes of them months or years later, long after the immediate crisis has subsided?

Jim Lewers, 27, a graduate student at the University of Missouri School of Journalism, decided to focus on a representative case and find out....

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