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China Remembers Victims on Anniversary of Deadly Quake

China marked the first anniversary of the fatal earthquake that ravaged the Sichuan province. NPR's Melissa Block was reporting in China when disaster struck and returned a year later to see how some families are faring.

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  • MARGARET WARNER:

    One year ago this week, a devastating earthquake struck China's Sichuan province. It left 90,000 people dead or missing, more than 5,000 of them students whose schools and dorms collapsed.

    This week, Chinese President Hu Jintao marked the one-year anniversary in a nationally televised memorial service in front of a destroyed school. The quake leveled huge swathes of this rural region and left an estimated 5 million people homeless.

    National Public Radio's Melissa Block had just arrived in Sichuan for a week of reporting before the upcoming Olympic Games. She was in a church in Chengdu when the quake hit.

  • MELISSA BLOCK, NPR:

    What's going on? The whole building is shaking. The whole building is shaking. Oh, my goodness. We're in the middle of an earthquake?

  • CHINESE CITIZEN:

    Earthquake, yes.

  • MELISSA BLOCK:

    The whole block is shaking. The top of the church is falling down. The ground is shaking underneath our feet. And all of the people are running out in the street.

  • MARGARET WARNER:

    Hers was the first broadcast of the quake to reach the United States.

    Block just got back from a return trip to Sichuan to see how the province and its people are faring, and she joins me now.

    And welcome back, Melissa.

  • MELISSA BLOCK:

    Thank you. Good to be with you.

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