Tag Archives: child abuse

China quake survivors spend second night in freezing cold

Battling bitingly cold weather and a lack of oxygen, rescue workers clawed with their bare hands through the rubble of homes and schools toppled by the 6.9 magnitude quake that hit Yushu county in Qinghai province on Wednesday.

Officials said medical teams and supplies such as tents and quilts were on their way to the zone, where doctors set up makeshift hospitals to treat victims of the deadliest quake in China in two years.

But thousands spent another night without shelter in freezing temperatures after the quake destroyed almost all the mudbrick and wooden houses in Jiegu, the local capital, and flattened schools.

“I lost my husband and I lost my house,” Gandan, a Jiegu resident, told AFP, her son and daughter at her side. All three were living in a tent with other people, with one bowl of barley to share.

“We don’t know what to do, we have no food,” she said, standing by the tent a stone’s throw from her collapsed mud and brick house.

China quake devastates stunned town

The number who perished rose to 760, including dozens of children, while 11,477 were injured, the official Xinhua news agency said, quoting rescue coordinators.

The death toll is expected to rise further, with 243 still buried, and local officials say they were short of medical supplies and large digging equipment.

“The rescue job in this disaster zone faces many difficulties,” said Miao Chonggang, of the China Earthquake Administration, which is coordinating more than 7,000 rescuers.

President Hu Jintao cut short a Latin American tour and Prime Minister Wen Jiabao postponed a trip to Southeast Asia.

Hu told a news conference in Brasilia the quake was “a huge calamity which resulted in big losses of human life”.

Chinese president calls quake ‘huge calamity’

Wen on Thursday visited the quake zone, an underdeveloped area of the Tibetan plateau known as the “Roof of the World”.

“The top priority is to save people. We will never give up even if there is only a slim hope,” Wen told a meeting at the quake-relief headquarters in Yushu, according to Xinhua.

Soldiers, police and firefighters used shovels, iron bars and bare hands to dig through the mangled piles of concrete and rubble from 15,000 toppled homes.

Foreign governments offered help as international aid officials warned that the priorities would be providing shelter, medical aid, food and water and ensuring sanitation to prevent the spread of disease.

Meanwhile tens of thousands of Internet users have been showing their solidarity with the quake victims by posting virtual flowers in online “mourning halls” and donating to appeals, Xinhua said.

Jiegu lies around 800 kilometres (500 miles) by road from the provincial capital Xining, about 4,000 metres above sea level, meaning rescue workers from outside the region struggled to cope with the lack of oxygen.

The government said electricity and phone links had been restored to dozens of towns but the difficult terrain, including deep canyons, and the bitter cold and remoteness of the area were hampering rescue efforts.

Dazed survivors told harrowing stories of loved ones crushed under their homes.

“There are 10 people in my family and only four of us escaped. One of my relatives died. All the others are buried under the rubble,” Samdrup Gyatso, 17, told Xinhua after his two-storey home crumbled.

Facts on China quake zone

Among the dead were at least 66 pupils and 10 teachers, Xinhua said, quoting local authorities, as grieving parents waited for news near the ruins of the schools, where discarded school books and clothes lay.

Xinhua said a baby boy had been born in a tent near the epicentre shortly after the quake.

“It must be the first life that came to the world after the disaster,” Huang Changmei, a doctor, told the agency.

“The baby brought hope to the ruined place.”

The devastation was reminiscent of the huge quake in May 2008 in Sichuan province, where thousands of children were among 87,000 deaths when their shoddily-constructed schools collapsed.

Schoolbooks strewn in China quake rubble as children perish

Xu Mei, of the education ministry, denied a media report that around 200 children had been buried in the ruins of a primary school in Wednesday’s quake.

In Beijing, Zou Ming, the head of the government’s disaster relief department, said nearly 40,000 tents, 120,000 articles of clothing, 120,000 quilts and food were being dispatched.

Armory guards: Teen covered with bruises, scars

Child Imprisoned

Armory guards: Teen covered with bruises, scars

OKLAHOMA CITY – A 14-year-old boy had deep cuts around his wrists and was covered with burns, bruises and scars when he wandered into a National Guard armory last week and said he had escaped from a home where he was locked in a bedroom closet, officials said Tuesday.

Two security guards who work at the armory and saw the teen there Friday said they lost sleep over the weekend thinking about the boy and the torture he described.

“He said he wanted help, and as soon as he showed us the bruises, we took him inside” and called police, said one of the guards, Paul Clark. “His wrists looked like he either had been handcuffed or had ropes or chains around them. It really kind of took me aback.”

Meanwhile, the manager of an apartment where the boy’s family lived until last month said it appeared a closet in a bedroom of the home had been used as a bathroom.

Investigators continued to conduct interviews and examine evidence as they prepared a criminal case against the teen’s mother, LaRhonda Marie McCall, 37, Oklahoma City police Sgt. Gary Knight said.

McCall and a friend, Steve Vern Hamilton, 38, were arrested Saturday on 20 complaints each of child abuse and child neglect. Both remained jailed Tuesday on $400,000 bond. Neither has been formally charged, and jail officials were not sure if either has an attorney. No one answered the phone at McCall’s home Tuesday.

Police believe the boy’s mother frequently tied him up to prevent him from escaping and had a lock installed on a bedroom closet where he often was kept for days at a time. Based on physical evidence and interviews, investigators have no reason to doubt the teen, who claimed he spent most of the last 4 1/2 years locked inside bedroom closets at various apartments where the family lived, Knight said.

McCall had seven other children, six of whom were minors and were taken into custody of the Department of Human Services, but none showed signs of abuse, Knight said.

Karen Gilleland, manager of the Hillcrest Apartments in south Oklahoma City, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that after McCall was evicted for unpaid bills in August, a hole filled with human waste was found in the wall of a closet in their apartment unit.

Gilleland said she never realized McCall had more than seven children and that whenever Gilleland had been in the apartment during the several months the family lived there, the door to the bedroom where the soiled closet was found always was closed.

“I just wish I would have known about it,” she said. “I would have done something.”

Knight said Tuesday that he wasn’t aware of the apartment manager’s statements about the closet being used as a bathroom, but he had seen photographs of the boy’s body “and he was subjected to a number of types of abuse.”

“He was frequently locked in the closet for hours if not days at a time,” Knight said. “He wasn’t allowed to leave, never attended school, never received medical attention.”

Police started an investigation Friday after the malnourished boy showed up at the base, about a mile and a half from the town house where he lived, and asked where a police station was located so he could report being abused.

He told police the closet door was mostly blocked with a stepladder or a bed and that he managed to push the door open enough to escape.

Leslie Sanders, another security guard at the armory, said the boy seemed believable and was concerned about the fate of his siblings.

“He was very straightforward with his answers,” she said. “He still had a good enough heart to ask about his brothers and sisters.”

Dr. Daniel Rybicki, a Gig Harbor, Wash., clinical psychologist who specializes in domestic violence and child abuse and consults in criminal and civil cases, said it’s not uncommon for an abusive parent to single out one child.

“There may be temperament variables, where one child is difficult to deal with, but it may be that there are a number of factors with what that child means to the parent,” Rybicki said.

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