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Village to be moved after SW China landslide (2)

(China Daily)

10:47, January 14, 2013

Families mourn

Wang Faxian collapsed and burst into tears when the last of her 14 family members' bodies was retrieved from the muddy debris.

Although she knew the odds of survival were slim for those trapped by the landslide, she held out hope that her worst nightmare wouldn't come true.

"I realized that something very big had happened when I heard a loud 'bang'," Wang recalled amid sobs. "But I never thought I would lose all of them."

Wang's parents and several of her brothers and in-laws died in the landslide. She was in a neighboring village when the disaster struck.

All 46 people trapped in the landslide were confirmed dead on Saturday. The landslide also injured two people.

Wang's sister-in-law, Luo Yuanju, lost three children in the landslide. She and her husband rushed to the village when they heard of the disaster, she said.

"I don't know how I can go on without my children," Luo said. She said the disaster filled her with extreme grief.

Mourners have traveled as far as 600 km to grieve for their deceased relatives.
Zhao Mingcai, a 36-year-old man wearing a torn and muddy green jacket, became tearful when discussing the nine relatives he had lost, including his child.

"I didn't get to see my child one last time," he said, his hands trembling. "How can I forgive myself?"

Zhao traveled to Gaopo from the provincial capital of Kunming on Saturday, only to see his home buried under mud. Ragged clothes, children's backpacks and fallen trees can still be seen in the debris.

Nineteen children, including Zhao's, were killed in the landslide, which happened on their first day of winter break.

"Try to run and avoid the area if a landslide occurs," reads a faded safety message printed on an outdoor blackboard at the Gaopo Middle School.

Some of the deceased children are believed to have attended the school, which was not damaged in the landslide.

Students at the school are supposed to commit the warning to memory, even though landslides are rare in the area.

"I don't know if my child read the message or not," Zhao said before falling silent.

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