Over 10 million people have been affected by the Sichuan earthquake to a greater or lesser extent; more than 100,000 square kilometers are within the heaviest hit area. According to official estimates, at least 50,000 people lost their lives. Many school buildings, due to poor construction quality, collapsed during the quake; many students in classes were buried alive, many of them killed. In some schools, over 50% of the students lost their lives. The number of deaths is shocking and heart-wrenching. The parents sobbed their hearts out.
'The Most Painful in the Painful Disaster'
"Northern Sichuan suffered most in this quake. The most heart wrenching in this tragic disaster," as a journalist put it, "is (the suffering of ) Northern Sichuan High School." There were 1,800 teachers and students in this school. The school turned into total ruins after the quake. The whole school had 20 classes. Only three classes who were taking a Physical Education class on the playground escaped the disaster. More than 1,000 young and energetic lives were buried in the debris.
Parents of the students knelt down on the debris, sobbing wretchedly, calling the names of their loved ones. Some of them criticized the authority for the delay in the rescue.
As of May 15, 360 people were rescued from Northern Sichuan High School. At least 700 students were still buried underneath the bricks. In order to save some of the students whose legs were buried under the bricks, doctors had to resort to amputation to get them out.
At Least 200 People Died in Muyu Town High School
Muyu Town is one of the towns suffering severe losses in Qingchuan Couny, Guangyuan City of Sichuan Province. The deaths and injures in Muyu Town High School are the most serious. Children from the three neighboring towns all came to this high school. When the quake hit on May 12, a three-story dormitory building with more than 400 student residents collapsed. Only 139 people had the chance to run out of the building; all others were buried underneath the rubble. As of five p.m. on May 14, 201 students were found to have died, 89 students rescued.
More than 300 People Died in Xiang'e Village High School
Xiang'e Village High School of Dujiangyan City had 420 students. Only less than 100 students managed to escape in time. Local residents said: "The rescue team could not make their way in. We do not have cranes here, nor do we have any other rescue equipment. We made very little and slow progress in our own rescue. When we heard children cry for help from underneath, we were stabbed to the heart."
A woman who lost a son and a daughter sobbed heart broken when kneeling down in front of the bodies of the two children: "Return my two children to me! I do not need money, I do not need land or housing. I only want my children back!" Another man who lost two sons bitterly scolded the government for the slow rescue effort. "If all children in the entire town die, we won't have any descendents left!"
In Deyang City, Shigu Town Center Elementary School, Yinghua Town Center Elementary School and High School, Bajiao Town Center Elementary School, Luoshui Town Center Elementary School all had the school buildings collapsed. Many students were buried underneath.
According to Peng Jia, Director of Propaganda of the Chinese Communist Committee in Eastern Steam Turbine Factory in Deyang City, the High School affiliated with the Eastern Steam Turbine Factory had more than 1,000 teachers and students. It was estimated that 200 people were buried under the debris. In the Technique Vocational School of Eastern Steam Turbine Factory, around 30 people were buried.
At Wenhua Town Elementary School of Liangping County, Chongqing City, the school building collapsed. At least five students died, two missing, over 20 students were buried. In Lirang Town Center Elementary School, 22 people were injured. Among them, 12 people were injured quite severely.