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UPDATED: April 30, 2015 Web Exclusive
Staying to Help
A Chinese individual's decision after the devastating earthquake in Nepal
By Li Fangfang

WE ARE FAMILY: Residents volunteer to cook with the food and cooker provided by Zhang Jun on the morning of April 26. Among those seeking shelter were people from China, India and Nepal (ZHANG JUN)

"I was on the second floor when the earthquake occurred. I heard the roaring 'rub-a-dub' for two seconds, and the sound kept coming from different directions. I thought someone was playing music at the very beginning. The house started to swing, which made me dizzy. I totally lost my center of gravity," said Zhang Jun, manager of the Bookshop of China Tibet in Nepal on April 28, three days after the 8.1-magnitude earthquake occurred near the capital city Kathmandu. The death toll from the earthquake had risen to 5,489 and a total of 10,965 others were injured as of April 29.

It was a Saturday. Zhang planned on having lunch with his local friends.

"I almost forgot how I escaped from the house. It seems like I just ran even though I couldn't see the steps, hitting the wall and grasping the handrail," Zhang said.

The earthquake almost passed when he ran out of the gate, but the aftershocks continued and occurred frequently.

"It's so bad, what do we do?" Zhang's friend asked him.

"Don't worry. If you die, we will die together," Zhang said.

His friend gave Zhang a big hug.


People got trapped in panic, running and shouting, hoping to find an open field for sheltering. Zhang invited some of them to his yard, where some prayed and others chanted, kneeling or sitting.

"We badly need water, food, tents and bedding," Zhang said. He saw that foreign rescue team, local police and few residents were busy helping with rescue efforts

"Most of my friends here have left. Just this morning, two of my colleagues have gone back to China by plane," Zhang said. "I also want to leave here. My family is so worried about me. But I can't just leave like this. People here need me now more than they did at any other time. I can help directly if I just stay. That's my decision."

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