Remembering the Tangshan Quake: 40th Anniversary

Tangshan Earthquake Survivors Want to ‘Give Something Back’

(Xinhua News Agency, July 26, 2016. Complete text:) Tangshan, Hebei - For 40 years, Zhao Shangang tried to find the two nurses who treated him like family after he was pulled from the rubble of his home in Tangshan following the horrific 1976 earthquake.

On finally being reunited with the two women in Qingdao last month, a city 700 km from Tangshan, he was overwhelmed by tears and unable to speak, despite having heavily rehearsed a thank you speech.

During the aftermath of the quake, Chu Meiying and Wang Zhenyu were attending nursing school in Qingdao and working as interns at the county hospital where Zhao was treated.

Zhao, just 11 years old at the time, was one of more than 100,000 survivors who were transferred to distant cities for treatment after the magnitude 7.8 quake flattened Tangshan, destroying virtually all public facilities, on July 28, 1976.

"Chu and Wang treated me like their own brother," Zhao said in an interview with Xinhua Monday [July 25].

"With their meager allowance, they often bought me nutritious food."

Before Zhao returned home, the two nurses completed their internship and went back to school.

"They gave me a notebook enclosed with their photos and autographs as a gift. But I was too young to express my thanks properly, and too careless to ask for an address," he said.

On returning to Tangshan, Zhao began his 40-year search for the two nurses. He called health authorities in every district and county in Qingdao.

"People just told me it was impossible to find someone in a city of nine million people if you only know their names."

His letters to the county hospital and the nursing school were never answered, but his dream came ...

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