Yaan earthquake

Another quake for teenager who survived school collapse in 2008

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 21 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 21 April, 2013, 8:40am

Yesterday's earthquake in Yaan, Sichuan, sparked traumatic memories among those who survived the massive quake in 2008.

Teenager Zou Hongmei, who was in Yingxiu at the centre of the 2008 quake, said she was so frightened yesterday morning that she burst into tears when she realised she was in another quake. Even though the epicentre of yesterday's quake was over 150 kilometres away, she felt the earth moving.

"I was very scared when the quake hit at around eight in the morning, remembering what happened when my school collapsed five years ago," said Hongmei. She had returned home to Yingxiu from her school and was spending the weekend with her family.

Hongmei said she had just got up and had not yet brushed her teeth when she felt the strong shaking. "I wasted no time and rushed to get out of my home as soon as I felt the tremor," she said. "After I ran out, I saw my fellow villagers were also outside, and I saw that I had run out barefoot."

She said it caused no damage to buildings in her village and no one was injured.

For Hongmei, the sad memories of the deadly earthquake she experienced five years ago can cause nightmares. Interviewed in May 2009, she said: "In my dreams, I am buried by the rubble and am in extreme pain."

On May 12, 2008, the six-storey Yingxiu primary school collapsed when an 8.0-magnitude quake struck, burying and killing nearly 200 pupils.

As Hongmei tried to escape, a boulder pinned her arm, trapping her. She was stuck for the next 50 hours - unable to move, her arm going numb, not knowing if she would die in the darkness of the rubble. As a result, most of the fingers on her right hand are badly mutilated.

"I hope those who have been trapped in [yesterday's] debris can be rescued as soon as possible," she said.