Fearful of New Quakes, Chinese Pitch Tents

Even those still with homes leave for the safety of the street
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted May 22, 2008 11:01 AM CDT
China's national flag flies at half-mast as local residents afraid of aftershocks set up tents at the sports ground of Sichuan University in Chengdu.   (AP Photo/Color China Photo)
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(Newser) – Across Chengdu, the capital of China's earthquake-struck Sichuan province, citizens are camping out in tents in public parks, riverbanks, and even on the sides of the roads. But many of the tent-dwellers haven't lost their homes, reports the Wall Street Journal. Rather, they're reluctant to return to their high-rise apartments, fearful of aftershocks.

"I've fully mentally prepared to stay outside for a long time," said one middle-class resident of Chengdu, whose large tent houses seven and includes a twin bed. For campers like her, clean water and sanitation can be obtained just by returning home. But in poorer neighborhoods, tent-dwellers are lining up 40 deep to use toilets, and Chinese authorities are worrying about public health.