English Version 42
The night is quiet until a new quake around 4 o'clock. The sound of falling rocks, everyone is awake but little by little the voices die. As if an earthquake wasn`t enough it starts raining at 7.30. Now at 9.30 I just wait for it to stop, so I can get on. There`s a sign in the city saying Songpan 142 km, that`s much more than the map tells but 2 days should be enough.
When I come back I`m told that the road won`t be safe before A WEEK! The situation seems to be worse than I thought.
I go back to the city to find someone that speaks English. At the school I`m surrounded by a crowd and the English teacher is called for.
Now I get information. The centre was near Wenchuan, which I left the same morning, there are a hundred killed and an unknown number of wounded. The telephone lines are cut off and all communication with the outside world is impossible. The possibility of another earthquake is likely. The English teacher named Xia Wei goes with me to the local authorities who have build a headquarter in a square in the city. As usual I get a seat, a boiled egg and two cakes. They try to get connection to a phone number in Denmark and The Danish Embassy in Beijing whose number I`ve brought with me on the PDA. They don`t succeed and have of course more important things to deal with.
The city which has around 100.000 inhabitants including the surroundings is without water and electricity. Also in this way the situation is serious.
We went there in a police car, now we go back in one of those big black official cars to collect my tent and other belongings and get me moved to the school area.
I had begun thinking I wouldn`t need the tent after all on this trip, but now it`s worth gold cause it keeps on raining even in the afternoon.
I was with Mr. Xia in a secure building (steel construction) and eat a boiled potato and a bowl of noodles. Afterwards we talked a little in my tent, but he has to look after his 8-years old daughter, so I take a walk and sit down and have a chat with one of the classes. Their math teacher is an important part of the conversation. According to them 6 children have been killed in Maoxian and more than a 1000 in the whole region.
None of us has tried this before. Only the English teacher in 1976 and I never get to know how old he was then.
Just now Mr. Xia has sent someone with two boiled eggs for me.
A truck arrive with water supplies for the school. The earth shakes from time to time during the day but not for long.
I have a visit in my tent by some from senior 3 and I also get to know where they are "living". Beds have been brought out and are now covered with plastic so next night outside will be more pleasant than the first. If this had happened during winter it had been a catastrophe.
There HAS been an earthquake in Maoxian before, only the English
teacher was living somewhere else at that time, and it was only a minor
one. Some from senior 3 remembers it was more than 10 years ago.
This one was 6,7 in Maoxian it is told and more than 7 in Wenchuan. The epicentre should be in Yingxiu not so far from Dujiangyan. The airport in Chengdu is closed. All news are heard from car radioes. The FM-band is still working. A lot from senior 3 have parents in the more damaged area whom they`re worried about.
I can do nothing but wait.