China marks first anniversary of Sichuan earthquake 2009: China Marks

China marks first anniversary of Sichuan earthquake

CHINA MARKS the first anniversary of its worst natural disaster of recent years, the Sichuan earthquake, with a series of events in the devastated

province. The earthquake, which struck at 2.28pm local time on May 12th last year, left 87,000 people dead or missing. Chinese media will broadcast commemoration ceremonies from Yingxiu, a town at the epicentre in Wenchuan county, live from 2.20pm. &8220During the earthquake, our school collapsed and I was buried in the rubble. But my classmates pulled me out. Luckily my family is all fine,&8221 said Li Sha (17), who is from Yingxiu, at a memorial event in Beijing. She is one of 126 impoverished children aged between eight and 18 who were rescued from collapsed schools in Wenchuan and Mao counties and brought to Beijing in June last year to study at the Shuren-Ribet Private School. Most of the children hail from the Qiang community, an indigenous people in Sichuan, 10 per cent of whom were killed in the disaster. The children have given their class at the school a special name: ShuMeng ErMa, which translates into &8220Hope in Sichuan for Qiang Sons and Daughters&8221. The US charity Golden Bridges has established the ShuMeng ErMa Fund to raise money for the children.

&8220These children suffered unspeakable loss, and I just wanted to help CCTF [the China Children and Teenagers&8217 Fund] and the school in their tireless efforts to meet the complex physical and emotional rebuilding needs of these very special children,&8221 said Golden Bridges founder and executive director Holly Chang.

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