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Yingxiu schools suffer heavy casualties
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Guangzhou-based Xin Kuai Bao today reported a tragic scene at Yingxiu town of Wenchuan County, the epicenter of the earthquake which ravaged southwest China’s Sichuan Province. Collapsed school buildings, bodies lying on the campus, and parents in extreme grief crying and shouting their children’s name helplessly.

At the Yingxiu Middle School on May 14, cranes were working in front of the collapsed building; soldiers and local people were clearing debris to search for teachers and students buried in the ruins. The whole school was destroyed with the flagpole being the only exception.

The situation in the Yingxiu kindergarten is no better. About 30 or 40 of 81 kids survived, according to the director.

Yingxiu Primary School has a total of 400 students and 47 teachers, but only one fourth of them were saved; the remaining were still buried in the ruins, with a slight hope of surviving.

Tan Guoqiang, the school's principal, was helping rescuers remove rubble. The middle-aged man chose to remain silent when scolded by the tearing parents because he knew that they were suffering from the pain of losing their children. But what the parents didn’t know is that his wife and mother were still in the debris.

According to Yu Qin, a teacher from the school, Tan had not slept for 72 hours. "I'm sorry, my children, what should I do?" Yu cried. Her husband, also a teacher from the school, lost his life in the disaster. Their daughter was luckily survived with an arm broken. "My daughter is strong," she said. "She was always singing to encourage her classmates when buried in the debris."

(China.org.cn by Xiang Bin, May16, 2008)

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