Cascading waves of earth add to quake nightmare

Stricken villagers in Qinghai battle way through deep mud and debris

By Wang Xiaoyu in Minhe County, Qinghai and Ma Jingna in Jishishan County, Gans | China Daily | Updated: 2023-12-22 07:14
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Rescuers search for survivors on Wednesday in Minhe county, Haidong, Qinghai province, after a sand boil triggered by Monday's earthquake left homes buried in mud and debris. Many houses that survived the temblor sank to the ground after the sand boil, a natural phenomenon that occurs when groundwater under pressure after an earthquake comes out to penetrate the sandy layer. TIAN WEITAO/FOR CHINA DAILY

More than two days after a magnitude 6.2 earthquake hit Jintian village, Qinghai province, Kong Lingping watched from a distance as bulldozers continued to remove mud and debris, as hopes faded of finding the last nine people missing in the area.

Kong, 42, said: "The roof of my house looks as though it has split down the middle, but my family is fine.

"I heard that one member of a family, who is in his 80s, survived, but his two sons and grandson died in the quake. He is staying at a shelter and barely talks at present. This must be so painful for him."

Behind Kong, villagers resettled in shelters on open ground lined up at a temporary stall offering free beef noodles, peering expectantly at the boiling broth.

A rescuer wearing a yellow helmet said, "Under such circumstances, a bowl of hot beef noodles can solve many problems."

The rescue worker gobbled down his noodles in just one minute, finishing off with a large sip of soup before dashing off to join his colleagues transporting and organizing donated supplies — routine work they have performed day and night since the quake struck on Monday.

A scene of deep grief mixed with hope is unfolding across the remote village of Jintian, which has a population of about 1,800.

At least 135 people died and nearly 1,000 were injured when the quake struck Qinghai and neighboring Gansu province late on Monday evening. As of Thursday afternoon, 12 were still missing, including nine in Jintian.

The village is situated about 16 kilometers from the quake's epicenter in Gansu, separated by a stretch of the Yellow River.

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