A candle-lit vigil marked the end of the first of three days of national mourning for the 34,000 known victims of China’s earthquake. Tears mingled with patriotic cries as crowds gathered in Chengdu, the capital of the stricken Sichuan province. While rescue workers searched desperately for anyone still alive under the mountains of rubble, survivors wrote the date of the earthquake in candles. They are refusing to give up hope for the thousands still missing.
“You are not alone, all the Chinese people are with you,” said one woman. “You must get over this difficult time. Stay strong, there is hope.”
But there is also danger. There is the fear of disease; the added problem of heavy rains due today, and aftershock warnings which sent thousands of people including hospital patients, flooding back onto the streets.
“We have a lot of patients. We need to ensure their safety,” explained a nurse. “We need to be prepared, just in case.”
There have already been around 150 aftershocks. It is now eight days since the first major quake hit. But as people settled down to another night outdoors they must have been wondering when this catastrophe will end.