Five Years on, Sichuan Quake Survivors Struggle for New Life
   2013-05-13 06:47:48    Xinhua      Web Editor: Jiang Aitao

The old county seat of Beichuan, southwest China's Sichuan Province, is seen in this photo taken on May 12, 2013. Sunday marks the fifth anniversary of the deadly earthquake which havocked Sichuan on May 12, 2008. [Photo: Crionline]

Survivors on Sunday mourned victims of the 8.0-magnitude Wenchuan quake that struck southwest China's Sichuan Province five years ago, while they are struggling to embrace a new life.

In the worst-hit old seat of Beichuan Qiang Autonomous County, local officials, residents and primary school students offered flowers in front of a monument engraved with the moment of 2:28 p.m.,May 12, 2008, when the massive quake struck.

More than 80,000 people were killed or missing in the quake with its epicenter in Wenchuan County, Sichuan. Beichuan took up about one fourth of the death toll.

The Wenchuan quake memorial hall in Renjiaping, Beichuan, hosted about 15,000 visitors on Sunday. The memorial, which opened on Thursday, displayed more than 5,000 articles in addition to photos, videos and books.

"Over the past five years, survivors have often returned to the site to mourn their relatives," said Zhao Kaisheng, a county official.

The fifth anniversary of the Wenchuan quake came just about three weeks after a 7.0-magnitude quake hit Lushan County, also in Sichuan, leaving more than 200 dead or missing.

STRUGGLE FOR NEW LIFE

In the past five years, quake-affected families have been struggling to start a new life, although the psychological trauma remains in the depth of their hearts.

Liao Zhi, a dance teacher in Hanwang Town, Mianzhu, lost her legs and her daughter in the Wenchuan quake.

"I had planned to spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair because of pains. But the support of my family and my love for dancing made me stand up again," she said.

She has since continued her dancing career with artificial limbs. "The quake woke me up and I found the significance of continuing my life."

Last month, Liao rushed to quake-hit Lushan and worked as a volunteer to help the affected residents. "I only hope everyone is safe and sound."

Villager He Xiantong's new home was built near the site of his devastated Donghekou Village, where more than 780 residents, including He's wife, were killed as the village was deeply buried under mountain rocks.

He opened a store after a park for the quake site was built, selling flowers and special local products to visitors. Whenever he has fresh flowers, he will always offer one bundle to his dead wife.

He built a new home and remarried one year after the quake. Later he bought a motorcycle and a van with loans for business.

He says he wants to make more money to return his bank loans and organize a wedding banquet for his son, who graduated last year from a college and found a job in Chengdu, the provincial capital.

The man said he "is trying to forget the quake pains little by little and looking forward to a simple life" with his new home.

On Sunday, 108 babies celebrated their birthdays in a temple in Shifang, Sichuan. They were all born in the temple after the quake.

Many families lost their only child in the quake. Some mothers succefully had new ones.

"Some quake-affected families have tried all means to have new babies. Some succeded even in their 40s, but some are not so lucky," said Zhang Xun, a doctor in Huaxi No.2 Hospital in Sichuan.

"We encourage them to give new births so that their pains will be allieviated," said Zhang, adding some mothers failed to beome pregnant again because of lingering psychological trauma. 

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