By Zhang Xiangdong
Published: 2008-05-20

Original article:

Their skin color had turned green and some of the wounds had begun to rot. Despair was written on the faces of all surviving villagers in Yinxing's Shapingguan.

The above scenario was related by Feng Xudong, political section director of the 13 battalion of the Special Arm Forces.

On May 18, Feng led a twelve-person exploration team to Yinxing, which up to then was one of the 10 villages in Wenchuan county that had remained out of reach of rescue teams.

Since May 19, the county disaster relief headquarter in Wenchuan had shifted its rescue priority from county to town-level areas. However, rescue teams had yet to enter certain areas due to bad road conditions.

From the trip, Feng brought back an appeal letter for aid from Shapingguan's secretary Long Deqiang. According to the letter, the village had a population of 599, scattered in four areas – Luoquanwan, Shapingguan, upper Yinxing and lower Yinxing. The foremost sustained the worst damages, with 35 dead and 76 seriously injured. The wounds on two of the injured had started to rot with maggots oozing about.

Long wrote that there were about 20 survivors under the age of one, adding food and medicine were in urgent shortage, and the food stock they had could only last for four days.

Though a 300-strong rescue team had been dispatched to Yinxing on Monday, taking along food and medicines, the disaster relief headquarter in Wenchuan was pessimistic about the situation there. By estimation, it would take at least two days for the team to arrive, as there was no proper road leading to the areas, Feng said.

The case of Yinxing reflected the difficulties involved for town-level rescue work. Though a total of 9,179 soldiers had been stationed across the county, 10 towns and numerous villages under them were isolated from outside aid due to lack of access road, according to the relief headquater.

The way to Yinxing was extraordinarily tough, Feng said. There was no paved road in the mountains, and there could be flowstones and landslides occurring at any time, he added. What the villagers needed most was medical treatment, but rescue work would be extremely hard, Feng emphasized.

The weather condition was not helping either. According to forecast, there would be moderate or heavy rain in Wenchuan in the following two days, adding more obstacles to relief work.  

Translated by Zuo Mahong