May 12, 2008
Contact:
Anna Christopher, NPR

   

NPR NEWS UPDATE ON ITS SICHUAN EARTHQUAKE COVERAGE:


MELISSA BLOCK ON-LOCATION AT COLLAPSED MIDDLE SCHOOL;
REPORTING DESPITE POLICE INTERVENTION

ROBERT SIEGEL TO REPORT FROM COLLAPSED HOSPITAL



NPR AUDIO, NPR PHOTOS NOW AVAILABLE;

NPR.ORG BLOG “CHENGDU DIARY”
BEING UPDATED REGULARLY


UPDATED 4:00PM (ET), May 12, 2008; Washington, D.C. – Two hosts of NPR News’ All Things Considered, in Chengdu, China, for the show's first weeklong broadcast from a foreign country, are now reporting from the scene of the magnitude 7.8 earthquake that struck Sichuan Province today.

Robert Siegel and Melissa Block traveled to Dujiangyan, a city about 50 miles from quake’s epicenter, where they are reporting from a collapsed hospital and middle school. They will be providing extensive coverage on the developing story today on All Things Considered. Updates and previous reports are now available at www.NPR.org

Block reports from the devastating scene at Juyuan Middle School, which partially collapsed during the quake. She describes families of deceased children creating religious altars on the scene and hundreds of others parents anxiously awaiting word: “When the families find their children, they're brought under tents and the families try to set them on small biers. They have stones and they're taking any piece of wood or plywood or cardboard they can. And they're laying their child covered on that piece of wood. I saw one child that had some, it looked like evergreens, on his or her chest. And the family had lit a small fire, and they were burning paper money for that child in the afterlife. They had lit red candles and incense, and they had a little shrine or alter ext to the body of the child.”

She also reports that “we [she and her producer] were surrounded by an angry mob and police, and we were forced to leave the scene.” Later on All Things Considered, Siegel will report from a hospital near Dujiangyan that collapsed during the earthquake.

Audio, text and photos of all NPR News coverage from the earthquake in Sichuan Province are available at www.NPR.org All excerpts must be credited to NPR News. Television usage must include on-screen NPR News credit with NPR logo. Information about media availability is below. Available audio includes:

Block, in the middle of an interview, as the earthquake hits Chengdu: “The whole building is shaking. The whole building is shaking.”

Block interviewed by Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep about the aftermath in Chengdu: “Everybody was quite terrified, and had never been through this before. This is not something that happens in Chengdu.”

Block describing the scene from the epicenter of the quake on NPR newsmagazine Day to Day: “I just walked by the bodies of at least a dozen children that were wrapped in shrouds, laid out on the ground, that had been pulled from the rubble, with grieving parents weeping over their dead children.”

Siegel, Block and NPR producers Andrea Hsu and Art Silverman are updating the NPR News blog “Chengdu Diary” with original text, images and video: http://www.npr.org/blogs/chengdu/ Joining them in China is NPR News Beijing correspondent Anthony Kuhn, who is monitoring the government's response as well as the situation in other parts of the country.

NPR’s All Things Considered is currently in Chengdu preparing for a week of reporting there to air May 19-23 on the show, which is broadcast on more than 640 NPR Member stations nationwide. This marks the first time the NPR flagship afternoon newsmagazine program has reported from another country for an entire week. Details about the week from Chengdu are available at: http://www.npr.org/about/press/2008/050808.ATC.html

NPR News’ foreign coverage includes 18 international bureaus in such cities as Kabul, Dakar, Baghdad, Mexico City and New Delhi. NPR’s foreign coverage is consistently recognized for broadcast excellence, and has received every major award in journalism, including a 2007 Alfred I duPont-Columbia University Award and a 2005 George Foster Peabody Award for coverage of the Iraq War.

To request an interview with NPR’s hosts and reporters in China: between 7PM and MIDNIGHT (ET) contact Leah Yoon, 202.513.2306 or lyoon@npr.org; between MIDNIGHT and 10AM (ET), contact Anna Christopher, 202.513.2304 or achristopher@npr.org Photos of the earthquake’s aftermath are available by emailing: lperloff@npr.org All credit must read: © 2008 NPR News, Andrea Hsu.