Post-quake challenge: 5 million homeless

Updated: 2008-05-21 09:34

Some 4,600 people are being housed there, 90 percent of them from the mountains around Chaping village, about 20 miles away, which remains cut off by road, said camp director Yang Jianxin.

"All these refugees have lost their homes -- their clothes and possessions are gone," he said. "We are doing what we can to help them."

Earthquake survirors walk outside shelters in Dujiangyan, May 19, 2008. The quake has made thousands of people homeless in Sichuan.  [Agencies]

As he spoke, the ground rumbled with the latest of what he said were hundreds of aftershocks felt in the past week. Camp residents gasped, and some ran from their tents in confusion, before calm settled after the 10-second tremor.

Residents Jittery about Aftershocks

The entire quake zone remains jittery. The Sichuan Seismological Bureau, one day after triggering a panic in the provincial capital of Chengdu by issuing a public warning of major aftershocks, said in a statement on Tuesday the city was not a high risk area and was strong enough to withstand big tremors.

In the Anxian camp, more people are expected to show up in the next few days as more survivors make their way down from the mountains, Yang said. Some 500 people are either dead or missing from the Chaping area's main town, which has about 1,800 survivors living in the mountains, he said.

Many of them, like Chen, made the 10-hour-plus hike down from the mountains with only the clothes they were wearing.

"We didn't sleep until we got here," Chen said. "I carried my father on my back part of the way, and then other residents helped me carry my dad down."

The camp has a clinic, food distribution points, toilets, a trash dump, and even plans for a temporary school. A red banner reads "Love is all around. We should never feel lonely."

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