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DNA test helps quake survivors find dead
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Xue Yuchao has finally brought home the ashes of his four family members lost in the May 12 quake last year which claimed 70,000 lives.

"Now they can rest in peace," says Xue, the 52-year-old man with dark complexion struggling to hold back his tears.

The devastating quake took his mother, his son, sister and brother.

Technicians are making DNA samples of the quake victims. [File photo]

Standing amid the debris of their apartment building in Dujiangyan, one of the hardest hit cities in southwest China's Sichuan province, Xue recalls, "The building collapsed in the blink of an eye, and my son never had the chance to escape."

Xue's mother lived in the building with his brother. His son, a 21-year-old university student who was back for vacation, was staying with "Grandma".

Xue speaks proudly of his elder son, who was awarded scholarships every year for his excellence in studies, relieving Xue's pressure of paying for the 6,000 yuan tuition, a number the family cannot afford with only a little over 1,000 yuan from selling vegetables and 300 yuan as the minimum social welfare support from the government.

"I ran as fast as I could to my mother's place after I escaped from my house," Xue recalls, adding that his house also collapsed and he lost everything in the house.

Then Xue ran to see his second son, who studied across the street. He was fine. Xue ran back to his mother's place, calling their names, phoning their mobiles, all to no avail.

Maybe they escaped, Xue thought to himself. He looked everywhere, still to no avail. His hope was shattered on May 17, when they found the bodies of his son, his brother and his sister. But Xue's mother was never found.

There was no time to mourn. Funeral homes and police took away the bodies to cremate as the government rushed to avoid the threat of epidemics.

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