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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Anna Liu Reports More on the Earthquake.

Anna Liu is our Blessing Hands administrator in Qinzhou China. She has sent this follow up report about the effect of the earthquake on China.

I wrote this while I was watching TV with tears. I cried sometimes. I watch TV whenever I am home these days after the earthquake. All the TV
stations in China are broadcasting live for 24 hours. Sometimes sobbing and whimpering, I told my students the latest news on TV at the beginning of my class in English, because I couldn't hold back my tears. -- Anna Liu

Sichuan Province:

The area is just like the capital letter “V”, the very high mountains with very deep valleys, at the bottom of the valleys, are the torrential rivers. I think you can imagine how strategically located and difficult the access to those areas are. Most of the villages, towns and cities are built in the valleys.

Landslides were everywhere after the earthquake.

So many impressive stories happened during these rescue days. People have never given up searching for the survivors. They use a kind of machine to explore to see if there are still people alive under the ruins. They found a very weak signal. Two women were rescued. One was in the ruins for 169 hours, the other is 150 hours. The one who was buried for 150 hours was pregnant. She gave birth to her child on the way to the clinic on a stretcher. Both of them are OK now. You can’t imagine how great the mothers are.

A boy is 11 years old. His mother was a teacher in the school where he studied.She died after she rescued 11 of her students. The boy was having his lesson when suddenly he felt a slit under his feet, and he felt into a hole. When he came back to his senses, he stood up, picked up a classmate who was still unconscious beside him and carried the classmate out on his back, walking out of the fallen building quickly and putting him in a safe place in the open air. He returned to that fallen classroom again to rescue another girl classmate who had been beside him. He wanted to save a third one, but that one’s leg was trapped by the fallen wall. How he regretted that he couldn’t save the third one.

A 9-year-old boy saved two of his classmates during the earthquake. He tried to dig up the bricks to find his classmates and then carried them one by one on his back to the safe place. When he went home, he couldn’t find his family any more. He was also slightly injured during rescuing his classmates. Can you imagine he saved two of his classmates the same age as he? When he was asked how he could carry his classmate the same size as himself, he said: “I don’t know. I just thought I wanted to save them”

During these days, after the 8.0 magnitude big earthquake, hundreds of small aftershocks happen every day. Most of them are under 6.5 but over 5.0 magnitudes. Each time, after the small aftershock, the rocks and stones roll down from the very high mountains. Some broken roads were blocked again by the huge rocks from the high mountains after they were open only a few days ago. 200 workers who tried to clear the stones away from a tunnel were buried by the rocks, stones and earth during the aftershocks. Many roads were blocked again.

The villages are scattered on many huge mountains in that area. Most of them are really far away from the cities. It took the People’s Liberation Army troops 21 hours to walk to one of the destinations to help those people.

Now all the roads to those far away villages are destroyed. A troop of PLA men walked there for over ten hours, but it took them over 15 hours to get out of those places, because all the roads they entered had been blocked by landslides during the aftershocks. They had to carry the young, the old, the weak, and the wounded villagers out of those places on their backs. Most of these villagers couldn’t walk because of starvation for many days, some even for 6 days.

Whenever the troops found a dead person, they would clean them and make them look much better. What they did was in respect for the dead and also to make their relatives feel better.

10 teachers and 175 students from a “Hope Project” village school came out of the mountain area. None of the students died or was badly wounded during the earthquake. Their teaching buildings were not as badly built as some of the old schools. They walked for two days towards the bigger towns. They were sure the rescuers would come to help them. They met the PLA men. They went across a big reservoir by rubber boats with the help of the PL Army men. Now they have been driven to a college in the capital of Sichuan Province and are taken good care of by the college students and teachers there. Those students can continue their studies now.

Most of the students and survivors became volunteers to help others after they survived the earthquake, because there were too many injuries and not enough doctors and nurses during the first two days. They loaded and unloaded the injured onto or off ambulances. Girls often stayed with the patients, wiping the blood away, helping with the cleaning of their bodies, talking to them and doing their best to ease their anxiety. Some of them took care of the injured for over 50 hours without a time to rest, and two of them lost their senses because of being too tired.

After this earthquake, it dawned on many of the students that life is fragile, and they think it is stupid of them to have wasted so much time in the past. Even most of the foreigners couldn’t understand how they could study for such long hours every day without a single day to rest. Now they think there are no difficulties in front of them any more compared to the students in Sichuan Province. They don’t complain about their overtime study any more. What they want to do is to study even harder.

From the 19th to the 21th of May was the Memorial Day. At 2:28 pm on the 19th of May, thousands of people gathered in Tiananmen Square and other places all over the country to mourn for the quake victims with flags at half-mast. After that, each pair of eyes was full of tears. They shouted aloud. “Come on, China. Come on, China. Never give up”. Everyone was moved to tears. Crying sometimes is not a weakness, but the expression of strength.

Over 100 psychologists from all over the country have now come to the disaster area to treat the people who lost their relatives, the injured, and those who experienced this disaster. The government is trying its best to find relatives of the orphans, old people, and disabled people after this earthquake. If there are no relatives any more, the government will support these kinds of people with 600 yuan per month ($87US). People can adopt these orphans after they fill out some forms seriously.

A last physical education class saved them from the quake.