Friday, May 16, 2008

Soldier cries: "Please let me rescue one more!"

I read the following article that is being published in many Chinese news sites. It is a personal account of the earthquake in Sichuan, translated into English (article in Chinese here: 消防战士跪地落泪:求求你们让我再去救一个)

[Disclaimer: the following article may be disturbing to some readers, but it is meant to mobilize us to action.]

"I just received a call from a reporter who had recently interviewed me. She just returned from MianZhu. On the phone, she described a scene she personally witnessed. She used only four words to describe what she saw - "世界末日" (Armageddon). She could barely work, because while there her tears never stopped. There was ruin after ruin, and the void left by collapsed buildings was filled by the sounds of crying. Rescue teams frantically rushed from site to site, but often it was too late. The photographer that went along with her only took one picture before throwing away the camera to join in on the rescue effort. The surroundings made it impossible to just stand and watch.

She told me that at a school she saw a scene that she will never forget. Half of the school's main building had collapsed. When the quake happened, roughly 100 children had been buried by the debris. All of them were elementary school kids. Soldiers-turned-rescuers had already retrieved teens of live children and 30 some corpses from the site. Watching the miniscule children that will never be able to open their eyes again, she couldn't find enough strength to even speak.

But as the rescue effort escalated to an all out sprint against time, aftershocks and the instability of the building was threatening a further collapse. Anyone going into the rubbles again would only meet certain death. The rescue commander issued an order for all rescuers to immediately evacuate the scenes until further notice. But just at that time, some of the soldiers who had just left the ruins yelled that they had found more trapped children.

When some of soldiers heard the news, they lost it and immediately began to crawl back down the rubbles. At that very moment, the second collapse happened. A huge slab of concrete was falling right in front of everyone's eyes. Other soldiers attempted to restrain those who wanted to go back in. The two groups wrestled with each other, until people eventually moved them into a safe zone. A soldier that had just pulled a child from the rubbles, kneeled on the ground and sobbed, pleading to the people pulling him away.

"Just let me rescue one more."
"I am begging you, just let me rescue one more."
"I can rescue one more!"

Everyone who watched the scene unfold cried. But they could only stand helplessly, as the building collapsed for a second time. Later on, those children were retrieved from the rubbles, but only one was still alive. As the reporter watched the young soldiers carry the sole survivor to the rescue tent, she sobbed uncontrollably.

Even though the story was told to me through the phone, it touched me greatly. I can't imagine how emotional the scene would have been had it occurred right in front of my eyes. What I do know is that it is a true story, and that right now, in the heart of the quake disaster area, the same story is being repeated. Tonight, as I sat in the comforts of my room, I first became aware that I should do something. Even though it is not realistic for me to be at the disaster site, can I do something that is within my power?

With tears in my eyes, I decided to first publish this article. I know that this article won't bring about any real help in itself, but this is the fastest, most immediate thing I an do. One article doesn't have any real power, but at least I can let more people know what is happening. Only after finishing the first task, can there be a second or a third..."

Pray for China. Show your love. Friends, no matter what situation you are in, as long as it is one where you can help, I hope we move as fast as possible. Don't let the fact that your action has too small of an effect, deter you from doing it. One article, one dollar of donation, they are all forms of support."


I am going to do something.

Current death count exceeds 20,000; those buried under rubble estimated to exceed 25,000; total feared dead exceeds 50,000. Millions are homeless. [Source]

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