About 10,000 troops used pickaxes and backhoes to clear roads and dig residents from collapsed homes today after an earthquake in south-west China which killed 410 people.
Volunteer Jackson Zeng joined about two dozen classmates who headed to Yunnan province’s Ludian county, where Sunday’s 6.1-magnitude earthquake collapsed thousands of homes in an impoverished region of mountainous farmland.
“I grew up around here and these are my people. I’m not sure what I can do, but I will help any way that I can,” said Zeng, a third-year student at Kunming University of Science and Technology.
Zeng’s black T-shirt contrasted with the scores of green fatigue-clad troops along the main road into the quake zone.
Paramilitary personnel with a backhoe and other heavy equipment pushed earth from a stretch of road affected by a landslide while Zeng and other students used their hands to push rocks over a cliff.