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Woman uses her 73-hour ordeal to encourage other survivors
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08:24, June 12, 2008

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· 8.0 Richter scale earthquake hits SW China
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Wang Xinghua, 44, told herself she only had two choices: wait for the rescue team or die, during the 73 hours she lay buried under the collapsed national taxation bureau. Today, she is back at work in a temporary office.

Wang, a Beichuan resident, had been working at the bureau for 26 years. Of 38 staff members only 27 survived the quake.

The government of Beichuan moved to Anchang Township on May 22, and the national taxation bureau also restarted work that day.

Wang is staying at a hotel in Mianyang where relatives of her dead colleagues are also staying. She is trying to help them get through these trying times.

"I tell them we are lucky to be alive. We have to go on with our lives," Wang said.

"My situation is actually much better than the relatives of my former colleagues even though I was buried for 73 hours. Both my husband and daughter survived the disaster."

Wang said the fear of living in tower blocks still haunts her.

"The government treats us very well and arranged this great hotel for us. But we who have experienced the quake now fear living in tower blocks or apartment buildings," she said.

At night, they all move into tents.

Wang said the 73 hours changed her outlook on life "Each time when I hear someone say they lost this or that in the quake, I tell them they are lucky to be alive.

"I just enjoy my work every day. And that's enough," she said.

Many other Beichuan officials are also keeping busy. About 45 governmental departments have reopened in rented office space in a small hotel in Anchang. Two to three departments share one space.

The major task of the government is helping more than 1,300 Beichuan victims each day.

They all have varying needs. Some inquire about how to apply for temporary household registration. Others want to know how to recover lost bank savings books, Zheng Rong, vice-Party chief of the county, said

More than 142,000 Beichuan victims are living in 346 temporary shelters in Sichuan.

Source: China Daily

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