With death on such an enormous scale, the Chinese authorities have had to use drastic measures just to cope with the aftermath. A sports stadium in one town has been transformed into a small city for survivors. Around 30,000 people have sought refuge there. Scouring lists for information about relatives has become a regular feature of life in the arena.
One woman said she came to the stadium because she was worried about her damaged house falling down. Another survivor told of the hardship being endured by his baby. One woman from another province is alone in the stadium and said she has no family to rely on.
The People’s Army is a vast resource at the disposal of the Chinese government but even it is overwhelmed by the scale of the relief operation.