ZHENGZHOU, March 23 (Xinhua) -- Seven-year-old Xiaohong (pseudonym) has not stopped vomiting all night since she was sent to the hospital following a stampede at her primary school in central China's Henan Province on Wednesday.
She was among 22 students injured in the stampede, one of whom died on the way to hospital.
"She was among the ones buried under the crowd in the stampede. She has not been able to eat or drink," said Xiaohong's mother on Thursday morning.
The injured students have symptoms including lung injuries. Five severely injured students have shown signs of recovery, according to doctors with the Puyang People's Hospital.
The accident occurred at about 8:30 a.m. Wednesday in the No. 3 Experimental Primary School of Puyang County as students rushed to the toilet during a 10-minute break.
"When the crowd of students dashed down the staircase, I tried to stop them and grabbed a falling child. However, more fell down and I was pushed down too," said Liu Wenhua, deputy principal of the school.
He immediately called the 120 emergency medical hotline for help after he managed to stand up. The students were sent to the hospital about 10 minutes later.
There are 1,704 students on the school campus, which serves grades one, two and four. There are a total of six toilets on the first and second floors for the entire U-shaped three-story complex.
Liu said the students were going to take a test after the break, so many went to the toilet. Some students on the second floor fell down the staircase, causing others to lose balance and tumble down.
Zhang Hongyi, secretary of the Puyang County committee of the Communist Party of China, said that the stampede exposed the aging facilities and lack of toilets at the school. There are also weaknesses in the school's safety management.
The school principal and deputy principal have been suspended from their posts and are being investigated.
Zhang said that the school in the county seat has had to cope with increasing enrollment over the past two years due to the need to educate migrant workers' children.
"The school facilities have not been expanded with the increase in students. We need to build more new schools this year," said Zhang.
First grader Xiaohu said in the hospital that he did not physically hurt anymore, but he was still very scared.
The hospital has provided psychological counseling for the students.
The school has been temporarily closed until March 27, as emergency work is being carried out to add more toilets on the campus and renovate the building to open more corridors to the restrooms.
The local government has set up an emergency response team to investigate. A safety overhaul has been ordered to check all schools in the county to prevent similar tragedies.