Monday, May 12, 2008

Powerful Quake Ravages China, Killing Thousands...


A powerful earthquake struck southwestern China on Monday, toppling thousands of homes, factories and offices, trapping students in schools, and killing at least 10,000 people, the country’s worst natural disaster in three decades...

Landslides, power failures and fallen mobile phone towers left much of the affected area cut off from the outside world and limited information about the damage. But snapshots of concentrated devastation suggested that the death toll that could rise significantly as rescue workers reached the most heavily damaged towns. State media reported at midday on Tuesday that 10,000 people remained buried in Mianzhu, one of the cities near the epicenter in Wenchuan.

At least two large schools, each with nearly 1,000 students, were reduced to piles of concrete dust and debris, setting off a frantic search for survivors that stretched through the night.

China’s leaders often respond assertively to natural disasters, fearing a strong popular reaction if they bungle rescue efforts. But a complex relief operation on the scale that may be needed in Sichuan could strain Chinese resources even as the United Nations and many charitable groups are busy providing aid to Myanmar, hit by a huge cyclone this month....

More information at The New York Times.


Many of the same organizations that I listed in the first post concerning Burma have set up separate funds for the aftermath of this earthquake in China. Please check them out if you are interesting in donating your money for immediate relief.


Does China need the same help as Burma? How do you decide who to give aid to? The complexities of trying to give money for immediate relief in times of disaster..


European governments, including Britain, as well as the major international aid agencies are also ready to offer assistance, in spite of the pressures created by already trying to help with the aftermath of the Burmese cyclone.

Matthew Cochrane, a spokesman for the Geneva-based International Committee of the Red Cross, said: "It is too early to say how much international help might be needed."

Beijing has not so far made any request for assistance from other governments or aid organisations.

China, unlike Burma and other countries in the region, has the resources, manpower and sophisticated disaster response teams capable of handling the emergency on its own.

The Chinese government has sent its own national disaster team and national search and rescue team to the stricken towns and villages to support local relief teams.

From "Bush offers aid to China following Earthquake" -- The Guardian


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