Rumour and alarm
In the last few days in Sichuan province, rumour, warning, and false alarm have played as big a part as anything else.
On Saturday, my colleagues and I were filming in the ruins of Beichuan when word came of a flood warning. Soldiers yelled at everyone to get out (the town's in a valley - so a flood would be pretty devastating).
We found ourselves scrambling as fast as we could with thousands of others to reach higher ground before the waters came (a surreal, slightly scary experience at the time). In the end, the flood warning turned out to be a false alarm.
This morning, rescuers in Beichuan started digging for a possible survivor underneath the rubble of an apartment building. On Sunday, a man who owned an apartment on the fifth floor of the building came back to the ruins of his home and said he had heard a tapping sound. He suggested that a builder who had come to his flat to install an indoor garden might still be alive and trapped inside.
A rescue began. More than 100 soldiers and emergency workers got to work (I watched them along with dozens of other reporters and camera crews.) As we waited, word went round that the man trapped could be a 40-year-old builder.
Soldiers stood by with an intravenous drip and a metal stretcher. Emergency workers linked arms and cleared the way for a waiting ambulance. China's Executive Vice-Premier Li Keqiang (a very important man - who's expected to become China's prime minister in a few years) even stopped by to watch the rescue for a few minutes (those of us standing on the rubble were asked to duck so that he could see what was going on).
But then, into the afternoon, things went quiet. Just before 1600, a soldier shouted to the crowd that he wasn't sure that anyone was alive underneath the rubble (I left Beichuan at about 1800 - at the time the rescue was carrying on at a much slower pace).
Tonight I write from the city of Chengdu (about 3 hours drive from Beichuan).
People here have got word of an earthquake or aftershock warning. I'm told that some have left their homes and have gone to sleep in the park - the safest place to be in case another earthquake happens.
We're not sure whether or not the warning will come to anything. But life in the Sichuan province is full of alarm.