Monday, May 26, 2014, 08:43
Survivors recall moments in Urumqi market attack
By Cui Jia in Urumqi

Four days after Zhai Jing was badly injured in a severe terrorist attack targeting shoppers at a local open-air market in Urumqi, capital of the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, she still suffers from continuous headaches. The bloody scene keeps haunting her.

Zhai, 46, was being treated at the orthopedics department of Xinjiang Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital, the nearest to the market where the attack happened. Her right leg was wrapped in thick bandages, and she was waiting for surgery on Sunday.

“All I can remember is that I was knocked down by the blast from the explosions, and when I woke up, I was shocked to find out that I had been thrown to the other side of the street,” she said.

“The skin on my right leg was torn, and I knew the bones were broken because I couldn’t move at all. Many people were lying on the ground.”

Two vehicles plowed into people at the downtown market at 7:50 am on Thursday. Witnesses said explosive devices were thrown into the crowd of about 5,000 as the vehicles were driven at high speed. The two vehicles then exploded, killing four people inside. Thirty-nine others were also killed or have died so far, and 94 people were injured. By Sunday, the identities of the 39 people killed had been verified, and four injured people had been discharged from hospital.

Zhai was rushed to hospital by an ambulance. The hospital had also treated those injured in the terrorist attack at a train station in Urumqi on April 30, and nine of those people still haven’t been discharged, said Liu Hongxia, director of the hospital’s medical department.

Zhai said when she arrived at the emergency room it was packed with the wounded, many severely.

“The hospital has assigned psychologists for us. They’ve come to see us every day since I’ve been admitted, but I still find the support from the three others in my ward more helpful because we all know what we have been through.”

Yang Fuhua, 69, is the oldest patient in Zhai’s ward. She is due to have surgery for fractures on her right arm on Monday.

“My arm was broken after being hit by people who were thrown by the explosions. My husband was once a soldier and even he was traumatized.”

Bearing the pain, she walked to the hospital covered in blood while holding her broken arm with the other hand. “More than 100 doctors and nurses were at the emergency room when I got there at 8:10 am.”

Gulsali Bekri, who was in the bed next to Yang, nodded when Yang said she finally felt a bit relieved when she saw the crowd of doctors and nurses.

“I was knocked down by the shockwave of the explosion and the muscle on my back was badly torn,” said the 47-year-old who runs a store selling curtains at the market. All of her goods were burned to ashes.

Liu said most of the people being treated at the hospital are seniors. Five of them are from the Uygur ethnic group.