The government has announced the start of a massive probe to find out why close to 7,000
schools classrooms have been destroyed and promised that anyone found responsible for shoddy construction will be severely punished. A great many of the casualties we’ve seen so far are students and teachers who were still in class when the quake struck.
“If quality problems do exist in the school buildings, we will deal with the persons responsible strictly with no toleration and give the public a satisfying answer,” education ministry official Han Jin said, quoted by Xinhua.
“We want to express our deepest condolences to the teachers and students who lost their precious lives in the quake,” he said.
Numerous reports have emerged from Sichuan province of crushed schools that have killed large numbers of pupils, a loss made all the more painful as China has a policy of allowing families to have only one child each.
In one of the rare pieces of good news, an AFP reporter in the cut-off city of Yingxiu on Thursday witnessed rescuers pulling a semi-conscious 11-year-old girl out of the rubble of her primary school.
But well over half of the 500 students at her school are believed to have died in the disaster.