BBC Home
Explore the BBC

CBBC

World

Last Updated: Wednesday August 06 2008 05:41 GMT

Sonali meets earthquake survivors

Sonali meeting quake survivors

Sonali's in Beijing for the biggest sporting event in the world - the Olympic Games - which start on Friday 8 August.

It's China's chance to have some fun after a very difficult year so far.

It's now almost three months since a powerful earthquake struck part of the country and killed thousands of people. Sonali travelled to the area to see the damage.


My journey started with a flight to a city called Chengdu, which is about a thousand miles away from Beijing.

From there, we travelled by car to a town called Hanwang, which is very close to the centre of the earthquake.

A map showing the worst hit parts of the Sichuan province
The darker colours show the worst hit parts of the Sichuan province
When it happened in May, I had seen lots of TV pictures of the destruction, but it was still very shocking to see it up close.

Hanwang felt a bit like a ghost town. Six storey buildings had collapsed into massive piles of rubble.

When I looked through some of it, I could see bits of people's lives - clothes, plates, photos.

It looked like some people had run when the quake happened and never come back for their things.

It's now thought about 87 thousand people were killed by the quake and five million people lost their homes.

Sad feelings

One of them was seven-year-old Shan Cheng.

Survivor story
San Cheng talks to Sonali
He wasn't at home when the quake hit, which was a good thing because his home was destroyed. He took me to see it.

The walls were still standing, but inside, everything was a mess.

He told me he was very sad about what happened because he was born in his house and used to think he'd live there forever.

Huge disaster

I also met some primary school kids whose school had been badly damaged in the quake. They're now being taught in temporary classrooms.

The kids were on a break when I arrived - the noise and laughter I could hear felt just like any other school - it was easy to forget that all these kids had survived a massive natural disaster.

Shan Cheng's kitchen
Shan Cheng's kitchen
I asked some of the children how they were coping.

Ke Jun, 11, told me: "I am OK now because none of my relatives or friends died in the earthquake, but I know a lot of people lost their homes and their relatives. I want the country to focus on helping them feel better."

Hao Rai is 11 and his grandmother was killed by the quake. He said he was very upset about it, but he hopes that China can recover and that people will get through the hard times and the sadness.

Positive future

Rubble after the earthquake
Rubble after the earthquake
It was only after talking to these kids that I realised just how much they had been through in the past few months, just like thousands of other people in the Sichuan region of China.

For most of them, life is never going to be the same again.

But it was amazing to see the people I met being so strong and positive about starting a new life.