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Civilian heroes everywhere in earthquake calamity
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Civilian heroes were everywhere after Monday's 7.8-magnitude earthquake in Sichuan Province, one of the nation's worst disasters in recent decades. Their unselfish love and unconditional help have warmed the heart of strangers in trouble and cheered the nation in a time of calamity.

Driver lost leg to save passengers

Tang Mingqing, the driver of a tourist coach, deliberately steered the vehicle into a mountainside to the left of the road, the closest to the driver's seat, when rocks plunged from above amid the quake in Aba Prefecture, Sichuan.

"Rocks were falling and the Earth was shaking. I couldn't control the coach. I chose the left side to turn at the last minute, since there was a river to the right," said the driver, who lost his left leg as a result.

Tang said the choice was the best option for the passengers to survive.

All 25 passengers escaped the accident unharmed.

Delivering new-borns in earthquake

Wang Cailan and her colleagues in the People's Hospital of Lixian County, Sichuan delivered eight children on the day of the earthquake. The county was in the epicenter.

When the delivery room started shaking, an expectant mother who was also a deaf-mute went into labor. Wang quickly moved the woman to a temporary work shed and knelt to help the delivery.

"The woman was gripped by panic and pain. She was unable to follow my directions," said Wang, who is a Qiang ethnic.

She said that seven of the women who gave birth that day were Tibetan and one was a Qiang.

None of the women or babies were hurt in the quake. Wang's calm control of the situation was key.

The midwife was on duty for a third consecutive day as of late Thursday. She did not have a full night of sleep.

Volunteers wearing red ribbon

In the People's Hospital of Mianyang City, beds occupied by injured survivors were everywhere in the lobby, parking lot and even the yard. They were taken care of and consoled by volunteers wearing red ribbons.

The city was one of the worst hit in the earthquake, with the death toll in the single county of Beichuan estimated at up to 5,000, with 10,000 injured, according to the latest information from the rescue headquarters.

"We are seriously short of medical staff. These volunteers came to our rescue. The hospital gave each of them a red ribbon for the convenience of distinguishing them in the crowd," said Wan Lihong, head of the publicity department in the hospital.

Li Dan, a young woman with a red ribbon, said that 30 of her colleagues were feared dead.

"There were about 50 colleagues in the office building on the Beichuan Water Affairs Bureau, when the quake started to jolt the building. We can only contact about 20 of them now," said Li in tears.

She walked through debris to the city center and volunteered to work in the hospital.

(Xinhua News Agency May 16, 2008)

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