A visitor at the memorial site of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake of Xuankou Middle School on 30th March.

A decade on, heartache of deadly Sichuan quake still being felt

Updated 0122 GMT (0922 HKT) May 12, 2018

(CNN)Li Yingxia was resting quietly at home in the afternoon of May 12, 2008, when the ground began to heave and people shouted "run!"

Ten years after the devastating 7.9 magnitude Sichuan earthquake which killed almost 90,000 people in western China, Li remembers how it only took a few seconds for her life to be changed forever.
"I didn't know what was going on because I had never experienced this before. My ex-husband suddenly dragged my hands and we began to run, and the next minute I was buried," she told CNN.
Her home was in Dujiangyan, one of the cities closest to the epicenter of the quake, which was so strong it thrust the ground up by almost 30 feet (nine meters) in some places and caused tremors 925 miles (1,500 kilometers) away in the Chinese capital Beijing.
After being trapped in the rubble for more than 10 hours, Li lost both her legs.
The years since haven't been kind to her. Now walking with prosthetic limbs, Li said her husband left her due to her disability and she thought about ending her life.
But she said the work of Chinese volunteers and her family had helped her. Now she works as a singer for tourists, assisted by a pension from the Chinese government. "It's my life-altering point," she said.
Like Li, Chinese media coverage of the anniversary has focused on the positive -- articles commending the rebuilding or discussing how the disaster helped spark a flood of volunteerism. And Wenchuan County, the area hardest hit by the quake, has named the anniversary date as "Thanksgiving Day," according to state news agency Xinhua.
But critics say the coverage masks the deep scars the earthquake left on the region and its people. Photos from the site of the earthquake show not all the damage has been repaired 10 years later.
Li Yingxia, Sichuan earthquake survivor, on her artificial limbs with her guitar prior to one of her public singing events.

The day the earth shook

The earthquake struck in a mountainous, relatively isolated region in western Sichuan, with many of the worst affected areas hours drive from the capital Chengdu.
While Li was in her home when the tremors began, many of the areas's youngest residents were still in afternoon classes at schools.
The student death toll stunned the country. Among those killed or missing were at least 5,000 students, according to the Chinese government, many of them crushed when their school buildings collapsed on them.