China Mourns Earthquake Victims
Exactly one week after a powerful earthquake struck Sichuan Province, China began a three-day national mourning for the tens of thousands of people killed on May 12. The national flag was flown at half mast across the country including Tian'anmen Square in downtown Beijing. All public amusements including movie theatres, nightclubs, and other such activities were suspended for three days from Monday. The Government ordered a nationwide display of respect for the dead.
The public stood in silence for three minutes at 2:28 pm on Monday 19 May, a week after the time the deadly quake hit, while air-raid sirens were sounded. And on Sunday, China Seismological Bureau Sunday revised the magnitude of the earthquake from 7.8 to 8.0 on the Richter scale.
The confirmed death toll from the disaster has risen to 40,075 and the toll would possibly rise to more than 50,000 as many, still buried in rubble, are feared dead. A further 247,645 were injured. A total of 60,026 have been rescued from earthquake debris and close to 4.85 million people relocated. During the days of mourning, the torch relay for the Beijing Olympic Games will be suspended to mourn the quake victims.
In Sichuan, the death toll in Deyang and Mianyang cities of Sichuan province hit 10,341 and 11,874 respectively. A further 4,156 in Chengdu, 2,586 in Guangyuan, 2,871 in Aba and 23 in Ya'an died. Outside Sichuan, the death toll was 364 in Gansu Province, 113 in Shaanxi Province, 16 in Chongqing Municipality, two in Henan Province, one in Yunnan Province, one in Hubei Province, and one in Hunan Province.
So far, 13.9 billion yuan (US$2.0 billion) has been received from donors at home and abroad for those affected by the earthquake. These include 12.5 billion yuan in cash and 1.4 billion yuan worth of relief materials. The Ministry of Civil Affairs, armed forces and Red Cross China had dispatched 278,462 tents, 783,984 quilts and 1.78 million cotton-padded clothes as well as food and drinking water. Those interested in donating money can check out the Red Cross Society of China.
In Nanning city, where I live, thousands of people gathered on Monday evening to light candles in Minzu (Nationality) Square. People also waved flags, sang the national anthem and chanted, “Go China Go!” and “Rebuild Sichuan!” as an encouragement to those affected by the earthquake.