The road into Pingtong township, in Pingwu county, is lined with mud from landslides. Construction crews are busy repairing the road. Pointing to a valley in the distance, a local young man tells me that an entire village is buried underneath. He says rescue workers haven't reached the valley yet, but there are probably no survivors.
In Pingtong township, PLA soldiers and military vehicles are busying about. Along a two-km stretch of road, countless people are buried under the collapsed houses. I visited Pingtong High School and Mingde Elementary School. Both sustained heavy loss of life.
The main building on the campus of Mingde Elementary School is brand new and survived the quake, although its windows are shattered and its doors damaged. Other buildings on campus all collapsed. On a crumbled wall next to where the school front gate used to be, I see ripped posters with children’s drawings.
A few hundred meters away up on a hill is Pingtong High School. In the debris are blood-stained textbooks, notebooks, and satchels. I peek through a crooked window into what used to be a second-floor dorm room. Crumbled bunk beds and clothing are scattered about. A poster is still hanging. It says “you will be rewarded for what you give.” I think of the dreams and hopes that must have inspired the students. It is as if I am in the room with the students when the quake hit and I hear them calling out for help.
Lin Di is a pseudonym. He reports for the Mandarin service and filed this diary on assignment in Sichhuan.