Sichuan Earthquake – Dispatches from Philip He, our Guide in Sichuan

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Today we went to Dujiangyan in Sichuan, the both sides of the streets are almost all occupied by tents of different shapes and from different material. Most people are still scared to go back to their apartment buildings.

There are some better tents with big Chinese character 救灾 (Disaster-Relief), mostly they are only use for injured people or people who live in a big apartment building which have collapsed fully in the strong quake.

When we came to the Dujiangyan TCM Hospital (Traditional Chinese Medicine), we were shocked by a large group of people standing outside with expecting eyes. Most of them have been waiting there since the happening of Earthquake, which make a big in-patient building collapsed and buried hundreds of people and patients. Soldiers and policemen are standing in lines outside by the side of the waiting people.

Inside the gate, two heavy excavators are working. I was told they have been working here for 4 days without stop. When ever there is a body found, a certain person will come and tell some features of the new-found body. The relatives who thought it might be the person they are waiting for will be allowed to go in to identify the body. Then the body will be sent to a place shrouded in yellow plastic cloth. At the gate, we met two middle-aged people. They were waiting for their relatives.

Sichuan Earthquake
Sichuan Earthquake - Dispatches from Philip He, our Guide in Sichuan

They were from one large family. About 14 of their family members were in the hospital discussing financial assistance for a poor family member injured from a car accident. Just at that moment, the Sichuan Earthquake happened. The father of the injured man reacted so fast that he got 3 family members to escaped from the window bars. Later on, he rescued two other people from the collapsed buildings. But he didn’t have much luck beyond that. No additional survivors of his large family have been found. After 4 days of waiting, only 3 bodies have been found, though they still hope a miracle will happen.

While they were waiting, most of the people still can’t understand why all the buildings around the collapsed building are still standing after the Sichuan Earthquake and many aftershocks. When we left, they were still waiting for hope and pain.  The pain is not just from the loss of their closest family members, but also from the equally fragile buildings.  

They hope one day someone will be able to give them a good explanation why the surrounding buildings were still standing while the one they were in collapsed.

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