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Quake rescuers: time is life

2010-04-20 15:28 BJT

Special Report: 7.1-magnitude Quake Hit Qinghai, China |

At 7:49 am, April 14, 2010, a 7.1-magnitude earthquake hit Yushu in northwest China’s Qinhai province. The China earthquake relief team, composed of 30 medical personnel and led by Hou Shike, director of Medical Department of the General Hospital of the Armed Police Force, was immediately on board an airplane bound for the earthquake-hit area carrying first-rate medical equipment.

April 17, rescuers were searching for survivors in the ruins in Jiegu Town.
April 17, rescuers were searching for survivors in the ruins in Jiegu Town.

At about 8:00 pm, April 14, the aircraft landed at Yushu Batang Airport. However, because the traffic hadn't not returned to normal after the earthquake, the cars sent to carry the relief team to the quake-hit area failed to arrive in time.   

The airport is more than 20 kilometers away from the epicenter, and at that time, aftershocks continued to hit the area. What should the team do? Hou was very anxious, because he knew that time means life: one more life will likely be saved if they arrive in the quake-hit area one minute earlier. The task was very urgent, and therefore no hesitation was allowed. Hou made a decision on the spot: rent local vehicles to take a shortcut to the epicenter.

Jiegu, originally a beautiful town, was razed to the ground by the earthquake.

"Hurry up, save people!" Hou, who led the team to arrive at the first time, gave only one order, and led the medical team into the ruins. It was already dark in Yushu with sharp wind blowing. Hou took the lead digging into the rubble, bricks and stones. With only one goal, to"save people" at heart, Hou continued to dig regardless of the fact that the rubble rubbed on his fingers and bruised his legs.

At 1:30 pm, on April 15, Hou heart a faint voice from the ruins beside Yushu Jiegu Nationalities School, so he followed the voice and found an elderly man. He was leaning against the ruins with several pieces of broken wood on his body.