Huffpost WorldPost

Sichuan Earthquake Anniversary: Chinese Mark Five Years Since Disaster (PHOTOS)

Posted: Updated:
Relative of earthquake victim burns offerings at the ruins of earthquake-hit Beichuan county during the five year anniversary of the Wenchuan Earthquake on May 12, 2013 in Mianyang, China. (Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images) | Getty Images

Yesterday marked a full five years since a massive 7.9-magnitude earthquake struck China's Sichuan province, leaving over 80,000 people dead. Across the region, the May 12th anniversary was observed with both formal ceremonies and informal pilgrimages to the ruined towns of Sichuan.

In Beichuan, where nearly half of the population perished in the tragedy, the local government decided quickly after the quake to preserve the town's destroyed buildings as a tourist attraction and memorial rather than demolish them. The ruins also function as a graveyard for thousands of the 18,000 dead whose bodies were never found.

A new Beichuan is being built fifteen miles south on a flat river plain, farther from the fault lines that spelled doom for the old city.

On the ruined campus of Beichuan Middle School, where 1,300 children perished, weeds run wild and goats graze, evidence that the forces of nature can promote growth as well as destruction.

Sichuan Earthquake Anniversary
Share this
Current Slide

Around the Web

China marks anniversary of killer Sichuan quake

Watch: Mourning the fifth anniversary of Sichuan earthquake

Sichuan 2008: A disaster on an immense scale

Five Years on, Sichuan Quake Survivors Struggle for New Life -

In pictures: China remembers Sichuan quake

Hundreds mark fifth anniversary of Sichuan quake at mountain ...

Sichuan Earthquake: Five Years Later - In Focus - The Atlantic