County rises from ruins after quake

Updated: 2011-03-21 07:32

By Yang Wanli (China Daily)

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County rises from ruins after quake
The lettering makes clear that these tents were provided by the Ministry of Civil Affairs. Financial donations also poured in, exceeding 8.5 million yuan ($1.29 million) in the first five days. Qin Qing /Xinhua

All 164 schools in Yingjiang county will be open on Monday, a week after classes resumed at 143 middle and primary schools in this impoverished corner of southwestern Yunnan province.

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Classes will be conducted in about 200 tents, larger versions of the shelters currently accommodating thousands of people since a 5.8-magnitude earthquake hit the county at 12:58 pm on March 10.

Twenty-five people died and about 320 were injured in the quake, more than a hundred of them seriously.

The blue tent that has become home for Long Wenyu, 40, and her family covers about six square meters. A sheet of wood with bricks under the corners provides a bed and they were able to retrieve a mattress from their two-story brick house.

"There are small cracks on the wall and we dare not go back," Long said.

While their house did not collapse, the earthquake did topple the homes of 1,039 families and left 4,994 others seriously damaged, mainly in the county seat of Pingyuan township, which is about 130 km from the border with Myanmar.

Long talked about her experiences on March 10, and what life is like now, while having dinner with her 14-year-old son. Her husband, 42, was sleeping in the tent, a luxury of rest for a man who does manual labor in the fields all year. (She didn't want either one identified.)

"My son was in school and my husband was doing farm work when the quake happened," Long said. "I was just ready to sleep for a while when the floor began to shake. It's like taking a boat, and I even didn't realize that it was a quake at that moment."

Long soon ran outside and, several minutes later, was able to confirm her son's and husband's safety by phone.

"We still cook in our own house, but dare not stay there for long," she said. "Cooking should be finished as soon as possible because no one knows when another quake comes. And I felt I never cooked as quickly as now," she said, laughing.

Government officials had counted more than 700 aftershocks through Thursday evening.

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