Friday, May 16, 2008



Racked by horror and heartache, there was noone to help him as he struggled to give his wife some vestige of dignity in death.

But in the chaotic aftermath of the Chinese earthquake, this man was determined she should not be left abandoned in the grim mountains of rubble.

So, with loving gentleness, he carefully strapped her body to his own - and took her to the local morgue on his motorcycle.

It was a small token of humanity in a tide of devastation that has claimed 20,000 lives, according to official figures. Up to 60,000 are still missing following the quake on Monday.

Soldiers from the People's Liberation Army dug through the rubble of Wenchuan county with their bare hands to reach those trapped.

As rescuers scrambled to pull out remaining survivors, one child, aged about four, was taken away in a sheet acting as a makeshift stretcher. Another soldier helped a rescued child take sips of milk.

Despite the rising death toll, there have been some isolated scenes to lift the spirits. In the village of Yingxiu, an 11-year-old girl was pulled from the rubble of a school 68 hours after it was destroyed.

Zhang Chunmei told how she and her classmates sang pop songs as they lay trapped and injured in the ruins.

As rescuers tried to clear the debris, she told them: "I'll just wait till you can come and save me. I'm thirsty and hungry, but happy I'm alive."

Last night, China's leaders made a rare appeal for donations of rescue equipment. Up to 80,000 troops streamed into the vast affected area of Sichaun province, while helicopters made supply drops to hundreds of thousands left homeless and cut off, without food and drinking water….DAILY MAIL

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