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An Chinese school teacher’s account of Yushu Earthquake (1)

Posted by Author on May 27, 2010

Secret China Staff, May 26, 2010 –

I am a school teacher and came to Xining, the capital of Qinhai Province, yesterday. I have witnessed the earthquake in Yushu.

At 5 am of May 14, while I was asleep, my bed started to shake, and then it shook so heavily that it almost threw me to the floor. I was startled. What was going on? Could this be an earthquake? I waited for a while and it became quiet. It was still dark out and no human voices or dogs barking could be heard. I fell asleep again because I was so tired. In my heart, I knew something was not right. I got up, put on my clothes and had a few puffs of my cigarette. Suddenly I was thrown onto the floor by the earthquake. I jumped up to open the door but could not. I rushed to the window, broke the window pane with a hammer and jumped into the yard. I could not see anything because of the thick dust.

Earthquake in Yushu—not like the reporting on TV

I am giving my first hand account of what happened during the earthquake. First of all, I want to clarify that the earthquake was not like what was reported on TV: It is not true that very few people died; it is not true that they were working hard to dig out the victims; it is not true that people had plenty of food and water; it is not true that they worked till midnight to save the victims. They are telling lies and the rescue operation only started slowly after Premier Wen Jiabao went there.

Many people were buried when the earthquake hit Yushu. Unlike the reporting on TV, only 1/3 of houses collapsed instead of 85%. But all the mud houses collapsed. What appeared on TV were houses in the center of the city.

At least 3,000 people died, that was what I saw. Many families were buried entirely and no one paid any attention to those people and no one recorded that either. I had witnessed at least 3,000 victims. Not everything in the report was true; some were made up stories.

No Food, No Water, No Help

When the earthquake hit, the three story dorm totally collapsed and all the students were buried. We started to dig them out but could not move the concrete rubble. We found the rescue team but they did not come until afternoon. When they did arrive, they only came with one forklift truck and did nothing. After sundown, not a single person was rescued.

Our neighboring families were buried, but we did not have time to help them. For two days, we were hurrying to dig out our own relatives, with hand shovels and wooden poles. On TV, they said that more than 6,000 people were saved. But the rescue team dug out very few people, mostly we dug out our relatives.

We put the victims on the horse race track. Because we used up all the medical supplies from school, we put the victims together. Some of them, we put on the trucks and covered them with quilts. At night, we found some wood pieces from the collapsed houses and burned them to keep warm. (to be cont’d)

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