Quake Survivors Desperate to Recover Loved Ones In China, rescue workers struggled to reach the tens of thousands of people who remained buried in the aftermath of the earthquake, as the death toll climbed above 13,000. Co-host Renee Montagne talks to NPR's Melissa Block, who is in Chengdu, China.

Melissa Block: Desperate Search for Loved Ones

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It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.


A short while ago, we reached NPR's Melissa Block in the city of Dujiangyan.

MELISSA BLOCK: And there are so many other stories like this all over the city of families desperately trying to get inside these buildings to find their loved ones and not the manpower and the machinery yet to help them out.

MONTAGNE: With this couple that you've spent time with, was it that they had to actually go out and found help?

BLOCK: But, you know, it's two days after the earthquake, and obviously the more time that goes by, the more hope fades.

MONTAGNE: I know in earthquakes, sometimes people survive for long time, and certainly families always have hope. Any indication at all? A cry? Anything?

BLOCK: We just saw some soldiers come from another building, saying they thought they had heard a sound. So that's one small sign of hope. When I met the mother this morning, she told me she was so hopeful that they could find her son, and the odds that they're facing here are so overwhelming. And you can imagine that story being repeated so many times - not just in this city, but in cities that people haven't even reached yet.

MONTAGNE: Melissa, I know that it is even hard for you to get information, having been there when this quake hit, but do you have any sense of the big picture of how much help the government is providing? Do you have any sense of how much of that is headed the way of these hard-hit areas?

BLOCK: Right now, so many people are focused just on getting by. And I don't know where these people are going to go, Renee. I mean, it's so many thousands of people who are out of their homes, living on the street. What the long-term plan is for them, I don't know that anybody has answers for that.

MONTAGNE: Well, Melissa, thank you very much.

BLOCK: Thank you, Renee.

MONTAGNE: And that's Melissa Block, speaking to us from the city of Dujiangyan. As I said, Melissa and Robert Siegel were there when the earthquake hit. Their reports, their personal stories and photos of the quake's aftermath are at npr.org.

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