In the aftermath of the New Year’s Eve stampede in Shanghai, families frantically struggled to find out information about their loved ones from local hospitals, but information was hard to obtain, leading to conflicts with medical staff and police.
The scene at the Shanghai No. 1 People’s Hospital got particularly out of control yesterday, when dozens of desperate relatives, who had been waiting hours for information about missing family members, clashed with police and hospital security, demanding to be allowed the opportunity to search for their relatives in the emergency rooms.
SCMP quotes one police officer who was on the scene, ““Some relatives were in a very emotional state and wanted to know the condition of the injured … They rushed in and things got out of hand for a while,” he wrote on his microblog.
The police urged for the family members to be calm and to control their emotions at this difficult time.
Elsewhere, SCMP found many families and friends of victims were having a difficult time locating their missing loved ones. It took one man 10 hours of searching to find one of his injured friends, and he wasn’t able to locate his other missing friend.
Family members reported having to wait outside for nearly 12 hours to find out about the whereabouts and condition of their relatives. At some hospitals, police went out into the crowd to show photos of the dead and injured in order to help with the identification process.
In another hospital, some 30 people were initially refused the right to search the hospital for their missing family members. Eventually, after some negotiation, the hospital let one representative from each family check whether their missing relative was there. Unfortunately, many families had their worst fears confirmed when they identified their missing relatives among the dead, according to SCMP.
“Just now they said [my daughter] was not here. Now I find out that she is dead. What can I do?” the Shanghai woman cried. “She is just 24!”
Earlier today the Shanghai government released the names of 32 of the victims. The average age of the victims was just 22 years old. The youngest victim was a 12-year-old boy.
by Alex Linder
[Images via NetEase]