by Xinhua writer Yang Dingdu, Li Huizi
SHANGHAI, Aug. 13 (Xinhua) -- Yang Yaoci, 20, looks like any other student volunteers at the Shanghai World Expo as he guides visitors outside the China Pavilion.
But Yang had just lost seven relatives back in his hometown, Zhouqu County of northwest China's Gansu Province, which was hit by a massive landslide Sunday, leaving at least 1,144 people killed and 600 missing.
Yang, an ethnic Tibetan and a junior student, started working at the Expo Park with 1,160 other volunteers from Shanghai Institute of Electric Power Monday.
"I was almost blown away when I heard the news on TV after returning from a day's work at the Expo Park to my school dorm," Yang said.
He called home immediately, and his father told him his mother and little brother were all safe, but seven relatives, including his aunt and cousin were missing.
"I wanted to go home and help with the rescue work, but my father told me there was nothing I could do.
"Dead people cannot be revived. I'll have to do work at the Expo and trust the rescuers to save my home," Yang said.
But during lunch break, his grief comes to the surface when he recalls his cousin who grew up with him. "A landslide is worse than an earthquake. There is a chance of survival in the crevices of rubble in an earthquake. But being buried alive by mud is another story."
Yang and his family survived the May 12 earthquake in 2008, which left more than 69,000 people dead and ravaged Zhouqu County.
Many buildings in Zhouqu were newly reconstructed with the aid of south China's Shenzhen City. Many of those buildings lie half buried in mud.