The Walls Tumble Down

Ian Teh TIME

Cities in ruin: Dazed residents of Dujiangyan search the ruins of an apartment block and shops

Zhang Xuede stands near what was once the Xinjian Elementary School surrounded by mud, debris, twisted metal and slabs of concrete. The 70-year-old has kept vigil in the city of Dujiangyan for the better part of a day after a 7.9-magnitude earthquake rocked China's Sichuan province on May 12, flattening the school his grandson attended. "After the quake hit, I ran to the school and started removing rubble," Zhang says. "I uncovered several children. Some were dead, some were still alive. But I couldn't find my grandson." Unlike many of the other parents and relatives waiting in the rain,...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!