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Eruption caused by earthquake takes the lives of over 60 people
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June 15, Daping Village, Pengzhou of Chengdu, Sichuan. Li Guangqing, stands heartbroken near the rock where the names of his wife, son and daughter-in-law are carved. The eruption of earth brought about by the May 12 earthquake caused massive amounts of destruction, as houses and roads were destroyed in seconds. Over 60 people died.  

Li Guangqing, a 60 year-old-peasant from Daping Village, Pengzhou, Chengdu City, was told by local officials to get the death certificates of his deceased family members. With the certificates in hand, he returned to where his loved ones are buried. Upon arriving, he found his home nothing like the place he knew before.

Daping is located near the Yinchang Ravine, a place known for its natural beauty. The village had small inns for tourists visiting the area.

During the May 12 earthquake in Wenchuan, a hill rose up from where Daping was located, leaving no trace of the village’s existence. The debris covers an area of 8 mu (1 acre equals about 6.07 mu) and is dozens of meters deep.   

When the disaster took place, Li Guangqing and his grandson were at a wedding party outside the village. Attending this wedding altered his destiny, making him and his grandson two of the only four survivors from Daping. The other two were playing mah-jongg on a side street when the earth started shaking.

People seeing the area for the first time may think that this tragedy was caused by a landslide. But they will soon find that there is no evidence of a landslide ever happening. The mountain behind the village remains undisturbed, and the surrounding vegetation shows looks untouched. What happened here was a sudden eruption of earth and stone. Mud and large rocks shot out of the ground dozens of meters, ruining roads and villages. The earthquake took the lives of Li Guangqing’s wife, son and daughter-in-law, as well as over 60 neighbors. 

As his eyes filled with tears and his voice quivered, Li Guangqing said, “I cannot save you. Please forgive me.”

He asked someone to carve a gravestone for his family on the biggest rock on the hill.

Li Guangqing said the place where Daping was located was known as Coffin Cliff in ancient times. In a matter of seconds, the disaster caused the area to live up to its old name, which has been around for hundreds of years. It happened so fast that people did not even have the chance to plead for help. They were killed almost instantly, buried by vast amounts of mud and rock. 

The members of Li Guangqing’s family who passed away were: his wife, Yang Heying, 58; his son, Li Changhong, 31; and his daughter-in-law, Hu Ping, 28.

As of now, cleanup of the village is impossible, as more people and resources are needed. Many households may never have relatives mourn their loss, since none of the family survived. They are now part of the mountain.

(China.org.cn by Hou Xiaoying, June 19, 2008)

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