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China Mourns Quake Victims as Rescues Ebb

China begins three days of mourning Monday as millions of Chinese pause from their daily lives to remember victims of the May 12 earthquake as well as offer aid to those who must now rebuild their lives.

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  • LINDSEY HILSUM, ITV News Correspondent:

    The three-minute silence began as a relief helicopter flew overhead. As the sirens sounded, medical personnel and other volunteers also stopped.

    Then, back to work, pulling out wood and other materials which can be used for rebuilding. Some 15,000 people lived in Hongbai. No one knows yet how many perished, but the town is utterly destroyed.

    One week on, they've pretty much given up hope of finding anyone else alive in Hongbai, so they're picking through the rubble trying to salvage whatever property they can find.

    This family ran a tailoring shop. They're pulling out what they can to take to the tent where they now live.

    "We don't have a penny," she says, "just what you see here."

    Rescue workers brought He Xianying down from the mountain. She didn't know if her son and daughter-in-law in Hongbai were alive or dead. And then joy of joys.

  • HE XIANYING (through translator):

    I was so scared. I was standing beside the vehicle, seeing the houses and the mountain collapse. I ran to the school to look for the children.


    Her children survived, one with a head wound, but three other family members are dead.

    Volunteers from a nearby town appear. Yang Zhoebao (ph) owns a food factory, so she's making lunches for earthquake victims. The Chinese government allows few nongovernmental organizations, so people are just loading up their cars and bringing in supplies themselves.

  • RESCUE VOLUNTEER (through translator):

    We cooked everything ourselves. We fried eggs and vegetables. I just want to contribute with my own effort to help as much as possible.


    Up the mountain, a landslide has cut the road. The government says further landslides caused by aftershocks in the past few days have killed about 150 rescue workers.

    At least 100 villagers on the other side of this broken bridge died in the quake. A thousand or so remain cut off and could only be reached on foot until the engineering corps finishes the repair.

    On a quiet hillside, a mass grave. They've buried 108 bodies here, near an old lime kiln. Each one was photographed and DNA samples taken, in the hope that one day families will come to claim their dead and numbers can be replaced by names.

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