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China marks anniversary of killer Sichuan quake
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) May 12, 2013

Worldwide miracle survivals
Paris (AFP) May 10, 2013 - Below are a number of cases of miraculous survivals after quakes, building collapses or mine accidents around the world over the past decade:

- February 5, 2001 - INDIA: Two victims of a quake in the western state of Gujarat are recovered alive in the ruins of their house by rescue workers, 10 days after the disaster which left 25,000 dead.

- January 7, 2004 - IRAN: A 56-year-old man is pulled alive from the ruins, 13 days after a quake which left 43,000 dead in Bam in the south-east.

- December 12, 2005 - PAKISTAN: A woman, 40, is pulled out alive from the rubble of her house in Kashmir, an incredible two months after a quake ravaged the region.

- April 25, 2006 - AUSTRALIA: Two Australian miners are brought to the surface after two weeks trapped underground in a gold mine at Beaconsfield on the Australian island of Tasmania.

- May 21, 2008 - CHINA: A woman is saved nine days after being stuck in a tunnel under a waterworks in the town of Hongbai, in the southwestern province of Sichuan following a quake.

- July 13, 2009 - CHINA: Three miners are rescued after 25 days trapped in a flooded mine in Guizhou province in southwest China, chewing on coal and drinking filthy water. Thirteen other miners died in the accident.

- January 27, 2010 - HAITI: A young girl of 16 is pulled alive from the ruins, 15 days after a violent quake in Port-au-Prince which left between 200,000 and 250,000 dead. Several days earlier a young man of 25 had already been found alive.

On February 9, a 28-year-old Haitian man is rescued after surviving 28 days buried in rubble after the January 12 earthquake.

- April 5, 2010 - CHINA: 115 workers are pulled out of a Chinese coal mine at Wanjialing in the northern province of Shanxi, over a week after being trapped by flooding. They survived by eating tree bark, sawdust, paper and coal.

- October 13, 2010 - CHILI: 33 miners, trapped for 69 days more than 600 metres (1,969 feet) underground at a gold and copper mine at San Jose in the north are brought safe and sound to the surface after a spectacular rescue operation.

- March 20, 2011 - JAPAN: A 16-year-old boy and his disabled grandmother, 80, are rescued nine days after the quake and tsunami which devastated the north-east of the country and in which almost 19,000 died.

- April 11, 2012 - PERU: Nine miners blocked for a week in a copper mine in southern Peru are brought to the surface, unscathed, by rescue workers.

- May 19, 2012 - CHINA: A miner, trapped in the depths of a coal mine for 17 days in the north-east after a flood, is found alive after a disaster in which ten other miners died and three were listed as missing.

- May 10, 2013 - BANGLADESH: A woman is pulled alive from the ruins of a nine-storey garment factory complex in Bangladesh more than 16 days after it collapsed and killed over 1,000 people.

China Sunday marked the fifth anniversary of the Sichuan earthquake which killed more than 80,000 but some said questions remained over the thousands of children who died as their schools collapsed.

The 8.0 magnitude earthquake struck the southwestern province of Sichuan on the afternoon of May 12, 2008, with its epicentre at Wenchuan county. Another 4.45 million were hurt in China's worst quake in more than three decades.

The mouthpiece of the ruling Communist Party, the People's Daily, praised government efforts towards reconstruction but outspoken Internet commentators remembered the thousands of children who died.

"It's the fifth anniversary of the earthquake as well as Mother's Day. Hard to forget those young faces lying under the school buildings," said Fengguo De Wuhou 1117 on a microblog.

"Five years and the promise to thoroughly investigate the 'tofu-built' projects in the quake area still lingers around the ears," said the posting, using a Chinese phrase for shoddy construction.

Thousands of children died and 7,000 schools were badly damaged in the earthquake, triggering accusations of poor construction and corruption, especially as some other buildings nearby remained standing.

Calls for transparency from the government on how many students were killed led to beatings and arrests of activists, including dissident artist Ai Weiwei.

Ai on Sunday tweeted a link to his work "Remembrance", voice recordings of people reading the names of students who died in the earthquake, which he puts at more than 5,000 (

Ai was badly beaten by police when he tried to testify in support of activist Tan Zuoren, who had investigated the school buildings.

The state-run People's Daily newspaper called the earthquake a "grave catastrophe" but said the recovery was a symbol of China's strength.

"In less than three years, the Wenchuan disaster zone has completed the task of reconstruction with impressive speed," the newspaper said in a front-page commentary.

"To achieve a new victory of building a prosperous society, this is the best way to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the Wenchuan earthquake," it said.

The China Daily newspaper said the country had learned lessons from the disaster as schools and hospitals were able to withstand another quake in the region last month.

That 6.6-magnitude tremor centred in Sichuan's Lushan county killed 196 people, with 21 missing and more than 13,000 injured, according to state media.


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Strong Iran quake kills child, causes damage
Tehran, Iran (AFP) May 11, 2013
A strong earthquake of 6.2 magnitude hit southern Iran early on Saturday, killing one child and injuring at least 20 others in remote, mountainous villages, state television reported. The US Geological Survey registered the quake at 0208 GMT, measured at 85 kilometres (52 miles) southeast of the town of Minab, located in the southern Hormuzgan province and off the Strait of Hormuz. The q ... read more

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