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Learning English - Words in the News
06 September, 2004 - Published 13:09 GMT
Russia mourns for school siege victims
Russian mourner

Russia is holding two days of national mourning for more than 330 people killed in the hostage-taking at a school in the southern town of Beslan. Flags are at half-mast and TV entertainment programmes have been cancelled. The first funerals were held yesterday; about 100 more are due today.

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This is the first of two days of national mourning, but here in Beslan it's a day of very personal pain. More than 100 victims of the school siege will be laid to rest. With so many dead - including so many children - it feels like the heart has been ripped from this small town.

Across Beslan this morning the sound of wailing echoed from the windows of apartment blocks; there isn't a family here which hasn't been touched by this tragedy. And at what used to be School Number One but is now a bombed-out shell, two mothers, whose children had died here, laid flowers, then they stood in silence, staring at the rubble.

Three days after the end of the siege, some in Beslan are still searching for relatives - more than 190 people are unaccounted for.

Steve Rosenberg, BBC News, Beslan

Listen to the words

national mourning
when the whole country expresses deep sorrow for the dead

laid to rest

the heart has been ripped
all life has gone

a prolonged and loud cry of grief

touched by
affected by

a bombed-out shell
a building destroyed by explosions

fragments of stone and brick

when a place is surrounded and any supplies are cut off

unaccounted for
not found; whose whereabouts are not known

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