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Vacationer stays for rescue

[ 2010-04-21 13:31]     字号 [] [] []  
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Exhausted with a fever and with parched lips, Gao Shuyou continues to volunteer in Yushu's quake relief efforts.

Visiting the area as a tourist when the disaster hit, Gao has been helping for five straight days.

"I had a fever last night and got an intravenous drip," said Gao, who slept under the stars for three nights before getting a tent on Saturday.

"At first I wanted to get out of here, but I just couldn't leave those in need," said Gao, who was born in Northeast China's Jilin province and works in Macao.

Gao and his friend, Chen Yunfei, came to Gyegu town in the Yushu Tibetan autonomous prefecture on a sightseeing tour on April 13, a tour they never thought would be so life altering.

"When the earthquake struck on Wednesday, we ran out of our hotel into the dusty streets as houses collapsed, people were yelling, dogs were barking," Gao recalled.

Feeling fortunate to be alive, Gao and Chen climbed on top of collapsed houses and dug with their bare hands in search of victims.

Many locals were Tibetan, and "although I don't speak their language, their eyes showed how grateful they were for our help," Gao said.

Gao and Chen first pulled a couple out of the debris, but they did not survive. They then dug out a mother and her baby. "The baby survived, but the mother died. We tried artificial respiration, but she still didn't make it. I felt so bad seeing people die," he said.

Feeling what they could do on their own was limited, Gao and Chen approached the Yushu prefecture committee of the China Communist Youth League and officially enrolled as volunteers.

Now Gao works to recruit and organize more volunteers. "As of Sunday morning, about 400 volunteers had joined us from all over China," he said. "You can tell volunteers by the red strips pinned to their clothes or tied around their arms. Volunteers do whatever is needed, such as searching for survivors, transporting the injured or collecting garbage."

Since all stores and restaurants are closed because of the quake, Gao has had nothing to eat besides biscuits, instant noodles and bottled water.

After toiling for five days without proper food and rest, Gao was weak, but continued to help. "I was lucky that I survived, and now it's time for me to give something back by helping those in need," he said.

(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Vacationer stays for rescue

About the broadcaster:

Vacationer stays for rescue

Nelly Min is an editor at China Daily with more than 10 years of experience as a newspaper editor and photographer. She has worked at major newspapers in the U.S., including the Los Angeles Times and the Detroit Free Press. She is fluent in Korean and has a 2-year-old son.