Earthquake Aftermath: 60,000 Missing in Wenchuan
The day after the 7.9 magnitude earthquake hit Sichuan Province Monday afternoon, in Wenchuan County, the region of the quake's epicenter, more than 12,000 people were confirmed dead, nearly 30,000 injured, and about 20,000 people remained buried beneath rubble, with 60,000 people missing.
On May 13, it was heard from Wenchuan that out of 105,000 people in the county, over 30,000 people were confirmed survival, while more than 60,000 people were missing since the quake struck.
According to secretary of Wenchun County Party committee Wang Bin, the majority of farmers' houses, in the towns of Weizhou and Miansi of Wenchuan, had collapsed, while other towns' buildings were in a dangerous situation. Up to 30,000 people from the county remained at evacuation sites. The towns of Yingxiu, Xuankou, and Wolong were not heard from yet, as the quake had cut major highways and communications were completely down. Wang Bin added that Wenchuan is urgently in need of airborne medical workers to the region providing rescue and first aid services, along with supplies including tents, food, and medicine and satellite communication equipment.
The town of Yingxiu is said to have suffered great damage from the quake. Director of Emergency Office in Aba Prefecture He Biao said that only 2,300 people reportedly survived out of 12,000 in the town. He also said that all phone lines had been cut off from Wenchuan and the county's access to the outer world was only by a satellite phone. Moreover, as Wenchuan's roads and bridges had been almost completely destroyed by the quake, heavy rescue machinery couldn't be driven into the disaster zone.
Due to rainstorms on May 13, airborne troops could not perform paradrop operations. When solders arrived at Wenchun on their hike, they found the region devastated and thousands of people perished.
In Sichuan's Dujiangyan City, when the school buildings in the region collapsed, 50 schoolchildren and teachers were dead and nearly 1,000 being buried beneath the rubble. The rescuers used their hands to pull survivors, while many family members remained at the sites awaiting news. It is said that the earthquake-stricken areas, such as Wenchuan and Beichuan counties, have no electricity or water, plus bad whether, making the rescue work very difficult.