CHINA 7.9 EARTHQUAKE

5-12-08

CAUSED BY A NUCLEAR EXPLOSION FROM A SECRET SITE IN A MOUNTAIN?

9,519 aftershocks and counting
some as high as 5.5 and 6.0

ANOTHER 6.0 - 9 MILES FROM CHENGDU

Another quake - this time 5.8 -  8-4-08

CHENGDU PROVINCE

Olympic Venue Not Affected

18,645 Buried in Town Near Quake Epicenter

DEATHS ESTIMATED TO BE OVER 80,000

90% of Pandas endangered

confirmed death toll 69,277
The numbers of people listed as missing and injured were 17,923 and 374,643 respectively

420,000 homes collapsed in aftershocks

400 dams cracked

10 new lakes formed from rivers

30 minutes before the quake

10 minutes before the quake
 

compiled by Dee Finney

 
 
9-1-08

Death toll rises to 38 in SW China earthquake
www.chinaview.cn 2008-09-01 15:06:33

Firefighters dig, bare-handed, two bodies out of the debris in quake-hit Huili county in Sichuan Province August 31, 2008. Death toll from the 6.1-magnitude earthquake has risen to 32 in Sichuan and Yunnan, and more than 400 were injured.(Xinhua Photo)Photo Gallery>>>

HUILI, Sichuan, Sept. 1 (Xinhua) -- The death toll in Saturday's 6.1-magnitude quake in Sichuan and Yunnan has risen to 38, according to local authorities.

    Huili County, the worst-hit region in Sichuan, registered five more deaths as of 8 a.m. Monday, raising the death toll to 32 in the province. A total of 321 people were injured in the county, statistics from the quake-relief headquarters showed.

    The county reported 20 deaths before Monday.

    The publicity department of Chuxiong Autonomous Prefecture of Yi Nationality, one of the quake-hit areas in Yunnan, said one more body was retrieved Sunday evening there, adding up the death toll to six in the province.

    Latest investigations showed that 195 people were injured in the prefecture, including 47 serious. More than 300,000 people were affected as houses of nearly 13,000 households were destroyed or damaged.

    Nearly 3,700 people had moved to safe places with help from 1,100 police officers. More than 900 medical workers helped with first aid, disease control, medicine and equipment supply campaigns.

    The Ministry of Civil Affairs announced Sunday night that the quake killed at least 32 people and destroyed some 258,000 houses after jolting parts of Sichuan and Yunnan.

    A total of 467 were injured and about 152,000 people were evacuated, it said.

Staff members of a local hospital clear the ruins hit by the earthquake in Lixi Township, Huili County, southwest China's Sichuan Province, Aug. 31, 2008. An aftershock of 5.6 magnitude hit the juncture area of Renhe District in Panzhihua City and Huili County in Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture on Sunday afternoon, one day after the 6.1 magnitude quake hitting the same area. The death toll of Saturday's quake has risen to 28, while no damage caused by the aftershock has been reported.(Xinhua Photo)Photo Gallery>>>

    Areas affected by the quake were Panzhihua and Huili, both in Sichuan, and autonomous prefectures of Chuxiong Dali, Lijiang and Zhaotong cities, all in Yunnan Province. Kunming, capital of Yunnan, was also hit.

    Most of the fatalities were in Huili, Chuxiong and Panzhihua, which sit on the southern end of the fault line of the May 12 quake that left more than 69,000 people dead and nearly 18,000 missing.

    In Panzhihua along, five deaths and 132 injury cases were registered and more than 32,000 people were evacuated for safety concerns. More than 1,800 houses collapsed and nearly 100,000 others were shattered. Many bridges, roads and reservoirs were damaged, according to the disaster-relief headquarters.

    In the quake zones, more than 300 aftershocks had been monitored as of Sunday afternoon, but the occurrence of tremors above 6.0-magnitude is unlikely in the next two weeks, a seismologist said.
 

 

 

 

  8-31-08 -  NEW QUAKE IN CHINA - MORE DEVASTATION AND DEATHS

China quake kills 32, damages quarter million homes

Sun Aug 31, 2008 9:56pm

BEIJING (Reuters) - An earthquake that hit China's southwest on Saturday killed 32 people, Xinhua news agency said after the most recent in a series of quakes to hit the region.

The tremor hit the mountainous border between Yunnan and Sichuan provinces, near an area still reeling from the May 12 quake which killed at least 70,000 people.

The region has suffered hundreds of smaller but still serious quakes since then.

Saturday's quake injured 467 people and forced 152,000 to flee. Over 250,000 homes were damaged, Xinhua said.

The U.S. Geological Survey put the magnitude of the quake at 5.7, while Xinhua said it measured 6.1. A slightly smaller aftershock hit around 24 hours later, but there were no immediate reports of further damage.

The government was rushing disaster relief to the affected areas, including thousands of tents and blankets. PZH Steel, a listed unit of the Panzhihua steel group, one of western China's top steel makers, said it had incurred some damage from the earthquake but was still checking on the extent.

Sichuan province, known for its pandas and fiery cuisine, has struggled to rebuild after the May disaster, which left 10 million people homeless.

(Reporting by Emma Graham-Harrison; Editing by Nick Macfie)

Quake Brings Grim Repetition to China

6.1-Magnitude Temblor Kills at Least 27, Damages or Destroys 177,000 Homes

By Maureen Fan Washington Post Foreign Service
Monday, September 1, 2008; Page A09

 

BEIJING, Aug. 31 -- It was a familiar scene: Rescue teams headed into an earthquake zone Sunday to help frightened farmers deal with hundreds of aftershocks and a shortage of tents.
Less than a week after the close of the Olympic Games, which brought mostly good news to China's government, officials struggled with the aftermath of a 6.1-magnitude earthquake that killed at least 27 people and injured hundreds Saturday.

The official New China News Agency said 177,000 homes had collapsed or been destroyed. The news agency said it was unclear how many more people were buried in rubble near the epicenter of the quake, about 30 miles southeast of Panzhihua, a city in southern Sichuan province.

The temblor destroyed nearly 400 houses in Panzhihua and 1,000 in neighboring Liangshan, the China Earthquake Administration said on its Web site.

"All the houses in our village have nearly collapsed, and right now we are risking our lives to bring our belongings out of our homes," said Xiong Mei, a farmer from Nanhai village in Liangshan prefecture who spent the rainy night in the courtyard of her partially destroyed home.

"In our village, there are 60 to 70 people who are seriously injured and staying in the playground of our elementary school," she said. "We don't have enough clothes or canvas to shelter ourselves, so we have to sew plastic bags together."

Xiong, 37, was near the epicenter of the massive May 12 Sichuan earthquake that killed nearly 70,000. On Sunday, there was only one tent assigned to her production unit in the village -- a way of organizing and managing rural residents by their jobs -- and it was not enough for the elderly and weak. "From yesterday to this afternoon, we've only eaten once. I am very frightened. The year of 2008 is a year full of disasters," Xiong said.

A man in the rescue supplies office of the Panzhihua Municipal Civil Affairs Bureau said the city needed several thousand more tents and possibly other supplies, such as food and clean water. "The biggest problem for us is a shortage of big tents and blankets. We have already distributed more than 2,000 tents," said the man, who gave only his surname, Cao. "We sent most of our people to the countryside to see if any people are still buried. The situation there is still unclear now."

Many Chinese think 2008 has already brought more than their fair share of bad luck. Crippling snowstorms struck Guangdong province during the Chinese New Year travel period, and many Chinese include the Tibet riots and protests against the Olympic torch relay in this year's negative news.

"There are so many disasters this year, and the people's mood is very low here," said Ju Guihua, 46, a nurse at a county hospital in Panzhihua that had admitted two quake survivors with broken legs. "The earthquakes are a serious and somber topic around here."

Xu Zhencong, 51, a teacher in Dalongtan town in Panzhihua, was riding a motorcycle home when the quake struck.

"I saw dust in the air from the collapsed houses. And just now, I felt two aftershocks," Xu said. "Today the government sent people to the village to check, but we only have four tents, so I have to buy rain clothes and set up a shelter by myself."

Researcher Zhang Jie contributed to this report.

 

Residents search among the debris of a collapsed house in Dujiangyan City. Picture / Reuters

Cars are buried in the debris of collapsed buildings in Dujiangyan, China, after an earthquake, May 12, 2008

 

Chinese rescuers search a collapsed building for survivors in Beichuan, southwest China's Sichuan province on May 13, 2008, after an earthquake measuring 7.8 rocked the province.

 

Reaching Beichuan is a long march into hell. When you finally emerge scrabbling through the dirt into the town, what lies before you is a breathtaking vision of horror. Beichuan was a town of 160,000 nestling in one of the world's most beautiful valleys. When rescuers arrived yesterday, 5-16-08 they found a scene of unimaginable devastation and despair.
 

 

China Hit by 7.9-Magnitude Quake; More Than 8,700 Die

By Aaron Sheldrick and Eugene Tang

May 12, 2008 (Bloomberg) -- China was hit by a magnitude-7.9 earthquake, the nation's strongest in 58 years, killing more than 8,700 people. The temblor in Sichuan province shook buildings in Beijing, more than 1,500 kilometers (930 miles) away.

The quake struck at 2:28 p.m., 90 kilometers west-northwest of the central city of Chengdu, the U.S. Geological Survey said. The temblor struck at a depth of 10 kilometers. A magnitude-6 quake struck the area, home to 11 million people, about 15 minutes later. Chengdu is the capital of Sichuan, site of 40 percent of China's gas deposits and its largest panda reserve.

``The epicenter of today's quake was shallow, which means it released more destructive energy,'' Zhang Guomin, a researcher at the China Seismology Bureau, told the state-run Xinhua News Agency. ``We have to guard against mudslides and collapsing buildings.''

The death toll in the province is at least 8,700, Xinhua said, with as many as 5,000 killed and 10,000 injured in one county, Beichuan. Rescuers recovered at least 50 bodies from the debris of a high school in the city of Dujiangyan, about 100 kilometers from the epicenter, Xinhua said. As many as 900 students were buried in the rubble.

Older Buildings

The death toll may rise, Deng Changwen, a spokesman for the Sichuan provincial seismological bureau, was quoted as saying by Xinhua. Troops and a 180-man rescue team have been sent to Wenchuan, one of the closest population centers to the quake, Xinhua said. The quake was originally reported as magnitude 7.8 before it was revised by the USGS today.

``The rescue efforts will be focused on the older parts of the city, where there are older buildings that aren't well reinforced,'' Deng said.

Five other schools collapsed in the province's Deyang City, leaving an unknown number of students buried, Xinhua said. Four students were killed and at least 100 were injured when two schools collapsed in Liangping county of Chongqing municipality, adjacent to Sichuan. Chongqing is about 350 kilometers from the epicenter of the temblor.

Buildings in Beijing shook for more than three minutes and traffic stopped. Construction cranes ceased work, while hundreds of people were seen scrambling to get out of buildings including the China World Tower, one of the tallest structures in the Chinese capital.

Felt in Bangkok

There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage in the capital. Shaking was felt as far as Hong Kong and Bangkok in Thailand, 1,950 kilometers away.

The quake sparked panic in cities and towns across Sichuan and other central provinces, Xinhua said. No damage was reported at the Three Gorges Dam, the world's largest hydroelectric dam, Xinhua said.

The quake damaged more than 2,000 China Mobile Ltd. base stations, Vice President Sha Yuejia said in an interview broadcast on state-run China Central Television.

The Shanghai Stock Exchange said trading in Sichuan Changhong Electric Co., Chongqing Iron & Steel Co. and 43 other listed companies based in Sichuan province and Chongqing city was suspended until they provide investors with trading updates.

The quake may help fuel increases in corn and soybeans after the disaster threatened to disrupt domestic supplies, analysts said.

Transportation Disruption

``The earthquake in China is going to cause major disruption in transportation,'' which could boost demand for U.S. grain and meat imports, said Roy Huckabay, an executive vice president for the Linn Group in Chicago. ``Chinese soybean prices soared overnight,'' a sign of increased demand for available supplies, Huckabay said.

Chinese carriers including China Eastern Airlines Corp. halted flights to some cities hit by the quake.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao. who described the earthquake as a ``disaster,'' called for calm and ordered immediate relief work, according to state media, while President Hu Jintao issued an order for an immediate response from government agencies, according to Xinhua.

Today's earthquake was the world's strongest since a 7.9- magnitude temblor struck Indonesia in September, according to the USGS. It was the biggest to hit China since a magnitude-8.6 quake struck Tibet in 1950, killing 1,526 people. China's deadliest disaster was a 7.5-magnitude quake that killed 250,000 people in northeastern China's Tangshan in 1976.

The U.S. Geological Survey defines an earthquake of magnitude 7 or more as ``major,'' and one above 8 as ``great.''

Bush Comments

There are 17 quakes measuring 7 to 7.9 annually worldwide on average, USGS said on its Web site, with five occurring so far this year. On average, there is one temblor annually measuring 8 or more.

``I extend my condolences to those injured and to the families of the victims of today's earthquake in China's Sichuan province,'' U.S. President George W. Bush said in a statement issued by the White House. ``I am particularly saddened by the number of students and children affected by this tragedy. The thoughts and prayers of the American people are with the Chinese people, especially those directly affected. The United States stands ready to help in any way possible.''

Hundreds of employees were evacuated from skyscrapers in the Lujiazui district of Shanghai, the city's financial center, where the stock exchange and banks including Citigroup Inc. and HSBC Holdings Plc have offices. No damage was reported.

Sichuan produced about 22 percent of the nation's natural gas output in 2006, according to China National Petroleum Corp. and BP Plc's annual energy report.

Power, Water Supplies

PetroChina Co., a unit of China National Petroleum, hasn't yet received any reports of damage at its fields in the earthquake zone, spokesman Mao Zefeng said.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. closed outlets in Chengdu after the shaking knocked goods off shelves, Dong Yuguo, a spokesman, said by telephone. Power and water supplies inside the stores were also down, he said.

Ford Motor Co. Honda Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co. said there was no immediate damage to their factories in Sichuan, Chongqing and other areas.

The Ministry of Railways said it hadn't received any reports of interruptions to services, Yang Xue, an official, said.

To contact the reporters on this story: Aaron Sheldrick in Tokyo at asheldrick@bloomberg.net; Eugene Tang in Beijing at eugenetang@bloomberg.net.

Last Updated: May 12, 2008 14:17 EDT

 

China Earthquake Eyewitness:
'We All Thought, Is the Building Going to Hold?'

Monday, May 12, 2008

BEIJING, China —  J.R. Wu was in her office on the 20th floor when the earth began to move.

“The building started swaying,” Wu told FOXNews.com from her home in Beijing Monday night. “We all thought, Is the building going to hold?”

The high-rise held. Wu, Dow Jones' Beijing bureau chief since 2005, was in a meeting with 20 of her colleagues Monday when a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck central China, hundreds of miles away.

According to state media reports, at least 8,500 people were killed.

In Beijing, the earth started to rumble at about 2:35 p.m. local time.

“The shaking lasted for several minutes," Wu said. "We felt nauseous."

The earthquake, which hit Sichuan province, sent thousands of people rushing out of buildings and into the streets in Beijing and Shanghai, hundreds of miles from the epicenter. The temblor was felt as far away as Pakistan, Vietnam and Thailand.

The Xinhua News Agency said 80 percent of the buildings Sichuan's Beichuan county had collapsed.

Rescuers had recovered at least 50 bodies from the debris of a school building in Juyuan township, about 60 miles from the epicenter.

"Many of my colleagues started running to the window as the building began to shake," Wu said. "We saw people leaving buildings. They were evacuating for safety reasons."

Wu said that Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao is leading the rescue effort for the earthquake and "has already visited ground zero."

In a statement issued on his plane en route to the disaster area, Wen called for "calm and confidence."

"The government is taking this very seriously. They’re very concerned," Wu said. "I know that the government is pledging relief funds. It’s not clear what the total is going to be at this time."

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

 
Worry and hope as news trickles out of earthquake zone

    BEIJING, May 12 ,2008 (Xinhua) -- After eight hours of frantic worry, Ai Fumei finally managed to get news of her relatives in Wenchuan county, the epicenter of the deadly earthquake that rocked southwest China.

    "My uncle fell off a ladder when he tried to pack up the tiles on the roof, which were falling down in the earthquake. He is in hospital, but as power in the county was cut, the doctor couldn't properly examine him," said Ai, who works in the northwestern Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region.

    She received the news by way of a cousin in Henan, who told her the uncle's home now had cracks in the walls and the kitchen had collapsed.

    The family was living outdoors, but 24-year-old Ai believed they were luckier than other villagers: her elder brother Ai Furong said that most of the earthen houses were demolished.

    Ai's hometown was Wenchuan, which has a population of 116,000 and lies about 159 kilometers from Chengdu, provincial capital of Sichuan. She had found it impossible to contact her family phone or mobile phone, until in the evening, she received short massage from Ai Xiufang in Henan.

    She was also unable to reach her mother in Chengdu until about 9 p.m., when she heard that many other people were living outdoors, and her mother "planned to sleep on the grass in a park".

    Bai Yang, 29, who works for an advertising company, was in Chengdu on business when the quake occurred.

    "I was working in the exhibition center when all of a sudden, I heard noises from underground just like subway trains and seconds later I felt a tremor, said Bai.

    "It was shaking so vehemently that we feared glass would fall." About 20 seconds later he realized it was an earthquake and rushed outside with his colleagues.

    "Some balconies of old buildings collapsed," he said. "On the streets many people are sitting or lying on newspapers or blankets. Shops are closed. The price of a kebab has soared from 0.2 yuan to 2 yuan."

    Bai was scheduled to return Beijing on Tuesday evening. "But I am not sure now whether my flight will take off."

    A driver from the Sichuan provincial seismological bureau had been on the 312 national highway near the Wenchuan county when the tremor occurred.

    "I heard someone calling 'earthquake' and felt my car swaying. Rocks rolled off the hills and dust darkened the sky," he recalled.

    Bai Ruixue, a journalist in Beijing, said, "I still couldn't reach my parents in Mianyang." One person was confirmed killed in the city after a water tower collapsed.

    She had spoken with her father about an hour after the catastrophe, but was cut off one minute later. "He told me that windows were all broken in our apartment, which is on the first floor," she said.

    "My parents are old and where could they live now?" asked Bai Ruixue.

    Xinhua reporters had attempted to go to Wenchuan, but were stopped at Dujiangyan city 100 kilometers away, where roads were blocked by rocks.

    Communication links to the county are still cut, cell phone calls are met with the engaged tone.

    Zhang Jun'an, vice chief executive officer of China Unicom, said two networks in Wenchuan were crippled. "The network in Chengdu is okay, but overloaded," he was quoted by CCTV as saying.

    China Unicom's staff to Wenchuan were blocked in Dujiangyan as well.

    Measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale, the earthquake at 2:28 p.m. claimed more than 7,651 lives in Sichuan Province alone and injured hundreds. It is China's worst quake since 1976, when an earthquake in Tangshan, Hebei Province, killed 242,000 people.

    "Although I won't sleep tonight, I feel some relief now," said Ai Fumei in Ningxia.

Editor: Mu Xuequan  
 

SW China earthquake disrupts railway transportation     

BEIJING, May 12, 2008  (Xinhua) -- Monday's strong earthquake in southwest China's Sichuan Province have caused multiple landslides and collapses along railway lines near the provincial capital Chengdu, leaving 180 trains stranded on the rails.

    Thirty-one passenger and 149 cargo trains were stranded on the Baoji-Chengdu line, the Chengdu-Kunming line, the Chengdu-Chongqing line and their branch lines linking Chengdu with the rest of the country.

    At least 15 cases of landslides and collapses had so far been reported along rail tracks, with 34 railway stations on the Baoji-Chengdu Railway losing power supplies due to the earthquake, Wang Yongping, spokesman of the Ministry of Railways said Monday night.

    Wang quoted one case involving the cargo train No. 21043 on the Baoji-Chengdu Railway, which went off the rails and caught fire in a tunnel near Huixian County, in Gansu Province, as the tunnel began to collapse. One man was injured during the incident.

    The Railways Ministry has dispatched rescue teams to the No. 21043 train, and sent repair teams to check railway facilities near quake-hit areas.

    All trains running near quake-hit areas have been ordered to halt in open areas, and passengers trains heading for quake-hit areas are awaiting orders to turn back.

    The quake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale jolted Wenchuan County, Sichuan Province at 2:28 p.m., resulting in more than 7,651 deaths reported so far. The epicenter was about 100 kilometers from the provincial capital.

    Tremors were also reported in over half of China's provinces and municipalities, the China Seismological Bureau said.

Editor: Mu Xuequan  
 

Monday, May 12, 2008 12:51 PM
by Sam Singal

By Bo Gu, NBC News, Beijing

I noticed the swinging leaves on our office manager's desk when she pointed out her plant to me and asked me if I felt the earthquake.  Her eyes were wide open and her hands were on her chest.  I told her I didn’t feel anything, but I couldn’t help giving a quick glance on our ceiling lamp-it obviously swayed for a few seconds.

In a few minutes our freelance producer Steven called in, told us there were hundreds of people evacuating from office buildings to the street, causing a small traffic in the main road of Beijing.

News started popping up on major websites: a quake measured at magnitude 7.5 struck western China, shaking buildings in cities as far away as Beijing and the business hub of Shanghai. The quake struck 57 miles (92 kilometers) northwest of the Sichuan provincial capital of Chengdu at 2:28 p.m. (0628 GMT). The 7.5-magnitude quake was centered 6.2 miles (10 kilometers) below the surface.

7.5 magnitude is absolutely an appalling level to Chinese people, who two years ago just had the 30th anniversary of the greatest earthquake in the northern city of Tangshan in 1976. Over 240,000 people were killed in that 7.8-magnitude earthquake, the second largest death toll in a single earthquake in modern history.

More news and images caught up at a frightening speed. Schools buildings fell down with hundreds of children buried underneath. Chemical plants collapsed, causing tons of liquid ammonia to leak. Cracks showed up in buildings. Water tower was toppled. In a village in northern Sichuan alone, 80% of buildings were destroyed. Electricity was out and no phone calls could be made to the quake zone. Death toll climbed up gradually from ten to a hundred to hundreds, then thousands.

By 8:00 pm, Premier Wen Jiabao has arrived in Sichuan in his private jet, and gave a speech to the whole country, expressing central government’s condolence, ordering a military entry to the disaster zone and calling for the whole country to fight against the catastrophe.

Regions and countries as far as Bangkok and Taipei felt the tremor too. More and more deaths are reported in other nearby provinces in Gansu, Shanxi, and Yunnan provinces.

By the time I finish this blog, 9,000 people are reported to have died in the earthquake, and official news says the death toll is likely to grow.

 

Quake engulfs 900 children

5:00AM Tuesday May 13, 2008
 

Nearly 900 students were buried in China's Sichuan province last night by a huge earthquake.

The official Xinhua news agency said the students were in a high school in Juyuan Township, part of Dujiangyan City, in Sichuan province.

The agency said teenagers buried beneath the rubble of the three-story building were struggling to break free, and others were crying out for help.

Parents were watching as cranes excavated the site. Villagers rushed to help with the rescue.

Two girls said they escaped because they had "run faster than others".

In a separate incident, four children died when two elementary schools in Chongqing municipality collapsed.

More than 100 students were injured, two seriously.

Xinhua said the early confirmed death toll from the quake was 107, with 34 injured. But the toll looks likely to soar as authorities and rescue teams make contact with areas where roads and phone lines have been cut by the tremor.

The 7.8-magnitude quake sent shocks and panic across large parts of the country.

One person was killed when the quake toppled a water tower in neighbouring Sichuan province where the earthquake was centred.

The airport in the provincial capital, Chengdu, was closed and roads were clogged with traffic after the earthquake.

Rain was also predicted for the disaster area.

The quake's epicentre was in the Aba prefecture in Sichuan province, 92km northwest of Chengdu, at 2.28pm [6.28pm NZT], the US Geological Survey said on its website.

Calls to Chengdu did not go through as panicked residents quickly overloaded the telephone system.

"In Chengdu, mobile telecommunication convertors have experienced jams and thousands of servers were out of service," said Sha Yuejia, deputy chief executive officer of China Mobile.

But Israeli student Ronen Medzini sent a text message to the Associated Press telling of power and water cuts in the city.

"Traffic jams, no running water, power outs, everyone sitting in the streets, patients evacuated from hospitals sitting outside and waiting," he said.

Xinhua said an underground water pipe ruptured near the city's southern railway station, flooding a main thoroughfare.

The earthquake also rattled buildings in Beijing 1500km to the north.

Many Beijing office towers were evacuated, including the building housing the media offices for the organisers of the Olympic Games, which start in August.

The local government of the Aba prefecture said the earthquake had caused injuries, cracked and collapsed buildings, and damaged mountain roads.

In Beijing, thousands of people evacuated or were ordered out of buildings.

James McGregor, an American business consultant who was inside the LG Towers in Beijing's business district, said: "The floor was moving underneath me.

"I've lived in Taipei and California and I've been through quakes. This is the most I've ever felt."

People ran screaming into the streets in other cities.

In Fuyang, 1100km to the east in Anhui province, chandeliers in the lobby of the Buckingham Palace Hotel swayed, and patients at the Fuyang People's No. 1 Hospital were evacuated.

In Shanghai, skyscrapers swayed and most office occupants went rushing into the streets.

The quake was felt as far away as Thailand, Vietnam and Pakistan.

A magnitude 7.8 earthquake is considered a major event, capable of causing widespread damage and injuries in populated areas.

- REUTERS, AP

 
China moves quickly in quake zone

The country's deadliest quake in three decades hit central China Monday.

Beijing - – As the death toll from Monday's earthquake mounted, China threw its Army into rescue operations – reflecting the priority that Beijing has increasingly put on efficient disaster relief.

The country appears to be well prepared for such an operation, says Roger Musson, a seismologist at the British Geological Survey in Edinburgh. "They are very good at putting together a disaster relief plan rather quickly."

More than 6,000 soldiers and militarized police were dispatched to the disaster area, carrying out standing orders in the event of an earthquake, a military spokesman said.

The next few days will reveal to what extent buildings in this part of central China were equipped to withstand a disaster such as this – the country's deadliest since 1976 with at least 8,500 dead as of press time.

Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, who flew to Chengdu, the provincial capital of Sichuan, less than two hours after the quake hit, told reporters en route that government leaders have "asked officials at all levels to be at the front line of the fighting the earthquake and lead the people in their rescue work."

"I believe we can certainly overcome the disaster with the public and the military working together," he added in a televised statement.

Vast improvements in disaster relief

China's annual buffeting from typhoons has led the authorities to build an efficient disaster relief structure, according to Xue Lan, professor of public administration at Beijing's Tsinghua University.

"One dramatic improvement is in life-saving" says Professor Xue. "Death tolls have been falling in recent years even though typhoons have been getting fiercer. China is doing much better than it used to, and than other developing countries [are]."

As well as passing a special law on emergency management last year, setting out the government's responsibilities, China has built a regional network of emergency management offices, reporting to the State Council, which acts as the government's cabinet.

In a Category 1 disaster, as Monday's quake was declared, local officials are authorized to ignore normal chains of command and report directly to the top levels of government, according to Mao Shoulong, professor of public policy at Renmin University in Beijing.

In addition to the thousands of soldiers and police dispatched to the epicenter in Wenchuan county, emergency medical teams were sent from major cities on the east coast to the quake zone.

Their departure displayed a speed of official response that critics said had been lacking during China's last natural disaster, blizzards that gripped the south of the country last January.

A magnitude of 7.8

The epicenter of Monday's 7.8-magnitude earthquake was in Sichuan, about 57 miles northwest of the provincial capital of Chengdu. It hit in the middle of the afternoon – when classes and offices were full.

At one school about 60 miles from the epicenter, nearly 900 students were trapped under rubble, the Associated Press reported, citing Chinese state media. At least seven other schools in the region had collapsed, according to Xinhua, as well as chemical plants and at least one hospital.

As many as 10,000 in Beichuan Qiang Autonomous County were feared injured and 80 percent of the buildings there had been destroyed, Xinhua reported. There had been more than 300 aftershocks, state television said.

Nightfall, severed communications, and blocked roads have hampered rescue efforts. The overall death toll from this earthquake – with tremors reaching as far away as Pakistan, Vietnam and Thailand – is expected to rise in coming days.

"Anything greater than [a magnitude of] 7 is very significant," says Mike Haggerty, a seismologist Weston Observatory at Boston College in Weston, Mass. "The magnitude is 7.8, and that's the exactly the same magnitude of the 1976 Tangshen earthquake." About one quarter of a million people died in that natural disaster thirty year ago.

The key difference between the quakes on Monday and in 1976 was location, says Mr. Musson, the seismologist.

"The 1976 earthquake occurred extremely close to Tangshan. The city was really sitting on top of the fault.... The good aspect is that this occurred in a remote area. The bad aspect is the population has increased," he says.

The shallowness of Monday's earthquake will also contribute to the extent of the damage, Mr. Haggerty warns.

Peter Smith contributed from Boston. Wire material was also used.  
 

China quake buries hundreds, kills at least 8,533

Updated Mon. May. 12 2008 3:35 PM ET

CTV.ca News Staff

The death toll is expected to rise dramatically in China's Sichuan province after a massive earthquake struck the region Monday morning.

The official number of dead is listed at 8,533, but there are fears the figure will increase due to the number of buildings that have suffered major damage. In Sichuan's Beichan county alone, about 80 per cent of buildings have collapsed.

Ten thousand people are estimated to be injured, according to the Xinhua news agency.

The 7.9-magnitude quake -- originally estimated by the U.S. Geological Survey to be 7.8 -- struck at 2:28 p.m. local time, when office buildings, factories and schools were full. Nearly 900 Chinese students were feared buried after two schools collapsed in the municipality of Chongqing.

Xinhua reported that four of the dead were ninth-grade students killed when their high school in Jutuan township about 100 kilometres from the quake eipcentre, collapsed.

Photos showed cranes trying to remove the rubble of the collapsed building, though there were no estimates of how many more students may have been killed.

There were reports of teenagers struggling to get free of the rubble of the three-story building, as others cried out for help.

The quake made buildings sway in Beijing, about 2,000 kilometres away, and was also felt in Thailand, Taiwan, Vietnam and as far away as Pakistan.

"We're really in the very early stages," Francis Markus of the Red Cross Federation told Canada AM from Beijing. "We don't know what the situation is at the heart of these earthquake-stricken areas."

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake's epicentre is 92 kilometres northwest of Chengdu, Sichuan's capital, and 10 kilometres below the surface.

Ten million people live in Chengdu, best known for its giant panda breeding centre. Sichuan province is also home to about 1,200 pandas, which constitute about 80 per cent of the surviving panda population in the wild.

The joint UN-European Commission's Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System, or GDAC, said a quake of this magnitude could cause damage up to 97 kilometres from the epicentre.

Xinhua said the quake occurred in a sparsely populated, mountainous area, with about 110,000 people living there.

In Aba prefecture of Sichuan province, government officials said buildings had cracked and collapsed. Roads through the mountains were damaged.

Calls to emergency numbers in Chengdu went unanswered. A resident whom The Associated Press reached by telephone said there was no sign of damages.

Xinhua said China's Premier Wen Jiabao is heading to the worst-hit area.

Markus said the Red Cross and Chinese government are sending planes with experts and equipment to the disaster area.

The quake came as China prepared to host the Olympic Games this summer. International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge wrote to China's president, telling the Chinese people that "The Olympic Movement is at your side, especially during these difficult moments."

As news trickled in throughout the day about the extent of the damage, Rogge said: "This appears to be a major disaster, the scale of which is only just becoming apparent."

With files from The Associated Press  

CHONGQING -- China's most devastating earthquake in three decades killed nearly 9,000 people on Monday, with the toll likely to soar as authorities struggle to reach casualties in large areas cut off from relief.

The earthquake that hit China's southwestern province of Sichuan killed 8,533 people, the official Xinhua news agency said on Monday, citing the provincial government.

The epicentre of the 7.8 magnitude quake was in a mountainous region about 100 km from Sichuan's capital Chengdu, a bustling city of 10 million.

"The road started swaying as I was driving. Rocks fell from the mountains, with dust darkening the sky over the valley," a driver for Sichuan's seismological bureau was quoted by Xinhua as saying, as he was driving near the epicentre.

The quake hit in the middle of the school day, toppling eight schools in the region. Chemical plants and at least one hospital were also flattened, trapping many hundreds, state media said.

About 900 teenagers were buried in the rubble of a collapsed three-storey school building in the Sichuan city of Dujiangyan.

Local villagers had already helped dozens of students out of the ruins and five cranes were excavating the site as anxious parents looked on, Xinhua said.

"Some buried teenagers were struggling to break loose from underneath the ruins while others were crying out for help," the agency said.

Nightfall, severed communications and blocked roads have hampered rescue efforts and the death toll was likely to rise significantly.

An estimated 3,000 to 5,000 people were killed in Beichuan Qiang Autonomous County alone, state media said.

As many as 10,000 in Beichuan were feared injured and 80 percent of the buildings there had been destroyed, Xinhua said. There had been more than 300 aftershocks, state television said.

Beichuan's population is 161,000, meaning about one in 10 residents were killed or injured. The county is a part of Mianyang city, and about 160 km (100 miles) from the provincial capital, Chengdu.

Hundreds of people were buried in two collapsed chemical plants in Shifang in Sichuan, the online edition of the official Xinhua news agency said.

About 6,000 people were evacuated, Xinhua said, adding that more than 80 tonnes of highly corrosive liquid ammonia had leaked.

Hundreds of people were buried under rubble in Shifang in Sichuan as several schools, factories and dormitories collapsed during the quake, the official Xinhua news agency said.

Hundreds were also buried under rubble in a collapsed hospital in Dujiangyan city in Sichuan.

The quake's epicentre was in nearby Wenchuan, a mountainous county of about 100,000 people, but its force was enough to cause buildings to sway across China and as far away as the Thai capital Bangkok.

The Sichuan plain is one of China's most fertile agricultural areas, but it relies heavily on an irrigation system linked to the 2,000-year-old Dujiangyan flood control works.

Which means the quake could exacerbate inflation, already running at the fastest pace in 12 years.

The quake is also the worst to hit China in 32 years since the 1976 Tangshan earthquake in northeastern China where up to 300,000 died.

It has come at a bad time for China, which holds the Olympic Games in August, and has been struggling to keep a lid on unrest in ethnic Tibetan areas and the heavily Muslim northeastern Xinjiang region.

The U.S. Geological Survey said on its website (http://earthquake.usgs.gov) the main quake struck at 0628 GMT at a depth of 10 km (6 miles).

In Beijing and Shanghai, office workers poured into the streets as the tremor hit. In the capital, there was no visible damage and the showpiece Bird's Nest Olympic stadium was unscathed.

Premier Wen Jiabao arrived in Chengdu and President Hu Jintao ordered an "all-out" rescue effort, Xinhua reported.

Thousands of army troops and paramilitary People's Armed Police carrying medical supplies were also headed to the region, state television said. But a landslide had blocked a mountain road leading to Wenchuan, preventing troops from reaching the scene, state radio said.

In Washington, President George W. Bush said the United States was ready to help.

"I extend my condolences to those injured and to the families of the victims of today's earthquake. I am particularly saddened by the number of students and children affected by this tragedy.

"The United States stands ready to help in any way possible," Mr. Bush said in a statement.

At least 45 had died in Chengdu, Xinhua said, citing an official with the local seismological bureau. Another 600 people were injured, 58 of them critically, in the sprawling city.

Some 57 have been confirmed killed in northern Shaanxi, 48 in northwestern Gansu, 50 in Chongqing municipality, and one in Yunnan province, Xinhua said, citing the national headquarters of disaster relief.

© Thomson Reuters 2008  

Biq Quake Takes out Mobile Network in Chengdu

Steven Schwankert, IDG News Service

Monday, May 12, 2008 8:17 AM PDT
An earthquake registering 7.8 on the Richter Scale knocked out mobile phone service in the western Chinese city of Chengdu, although fixed-line networks remained in service, Chinese state television reported Monday afternoon.

About 2,300 base stations were affected by power outages or transmission problems, China Mobile's Sichuan office told the state-run Xinhua News Agency, adding that repairs were under way. China is the nation's and world's largest mobile service provider.

Service was affected in both southwestern Sichuan province, and in northwestern Shaanxi province, Xinhua reported, although those two areas do not abut. China Mobile also said that call volume had increased by 10 times what is normal but connections were down by half as a result of the earthquake.

Amateur Video

China's online video sites were quick to receive footage shot during the earthquake by users, footage that did not appear on CCTV's nightly newscast, which is carried by most major channels. One clip, labeled "Chengdu Earthquake," showed students in a classroom or dormitory room hiding under their desks, as debris falls from the ceiling. "Don't move, don't move, it's ok," the photographer says to a student who emerges from cover too quickly. Footage from Chengdu would also seem to confirm the availability of Internet service there.

The semiconductor industry and China's growing software outsourcing industry take advantage of Chengdu's status as China's fifth-largest city and southwest China's largest academic center.

Although the Chengdu region is not considered a major manufacturing center for semiconductors, Intel began semiconductor manufacturing there in 2005, and employs 600 at a testing and assembly facility in Chengdu.

"We are now determining if this has implications for Intel's operation in Chengdu. Our first priority is the safety of our people," said Danny Cheung, an Intel spokesman based in Singapore, in an e-mail.

Semiconductor Manufacturing International (SMIC) also operates a testing and assembly facility there, according to its Web site. Sources said that SMIC evacuated a fabrication plant and halted production as a result of the quake.

Aftershocks Continue

The earthquake occurred at 2:28 p.m. Beijing local time. The State Seismological Bureau (SSB) originally reported the quake registered at 7.6 on the Richter Scale, but later upgraded it to 7.8. The epicenter was approximately 55 kilometers (33 miles) northwest of Chengdu in Wenchuan County. Shaking lasted for approximately one minute, dislodging lights from ceiling fixtures and knocking over water coolers, a reporter told CCTV.

CCTV did not report aftershocks, but the U.S. Geological Service's Web site reported at least 10 by 8:45 p.m. Beijing local time. The quake was felt as far away as coastal Zhejiang province and Beijing. Beijing experienced a separate 3.9 earthquake at 2:35 p.m., the SSB confirmed.

CCTV's first pictures of the event, broadcast at 4:23 p.m. Beijing time, showed people talking on mobile handsets, although it is not known which networks they were using at the time. They showed traffic moving in the street, and a woman with her head bleeding getting into a car. Footage broadcast during the nightly newscast showed visible cracks in some residential buildings, but no collapsed structures or pictures of people injured or killed by the earthquake.

The strength of Monday's 7.8 earthquake equals China's most famous temblor in modern history, a July 1976 event in Tangshan, east of Beijing. Estimated deaths for the Tangshan earthquake range from over 200,000 to more than 700,000. So far, 107 people are confirmed dead as a result of the earthquake, and as many as 900 children may be buried at a high school in an unspecified location, according to the state-run Xinhua News Agency.

(Sumner Lemon in Singapore contributed to this report.)

 

 

Death toll in China earthquake up to nearly 9,000

CHENGDU, China (AP) — One of the worst earthquakes to hit China in three decades killed nearly 9,000 people Monday, trapped about 900 students under the rubble of their school and caused a toxic chemical leak, state media reported.

The 7.9-magnitude earthquake devastated a hilly region of small cities and towns in central China. The official Xinhua News Agency said 8,533 people died in Sichuan province and more than 200 others were killed in three other provinces and the mega-city of Chongqing.

Xinhua said 80 percent of the buildings had collapsed in Sichuan province's Beichuan county after the quake, raising fears that the overall death toll could increase sharply.

State media said a chemical plant in Shifang city had cratered, burying hundreds of people and spilling more than 80 tons of toxic liquid ammonia from the site.

The earthquake sent thousands of people rushing out of buildings and into the streets hundreds of miles away in Beijing and Shanghai. The temblor was felt as far away as Vietnam and Thailand.

It posed a challenge to a government already grappling with discontent over high inflation and a widespread uprising among Tibetans in western China while trying to prepare for the Beijing Olympics this August.

The quake hit about 60 miles northwest of Chengdu — a city of 3.75 million — in the middle of the afternoon when classrooms and office towers were full. When it hit shortly before 2:30 p.m., the quake rumbled for nearly three minutes, witnesses said, driving people into the streets in panic.

"It was really scary to be on the 26th floor in something like that," said Tom Weller, a 49-year-old American oil and gas consultant staying at the Holiday Inn. "You had to hold on to something like that or you'd fall over. It shook for so long and so violently, you wondered how long the building would be able to stand this."

While most buildings in the city held up, those in the countryside tumbled. On the outskirts of Chongqing city, a school in Liangping county collapsed, killing at least five people. Residents said teachers kept the children inside, thinking it was safer.

Landslides left the roads impassable even early Tuesday, causing the government to order soldiers into the area on foot, state television said, while heavy rains prevented four military helicopters from landing.

Mianyang city ordered all able-bodied males under 50 years old to take water and tools and walk or drive to Beichuan, where most of the buildings had collapsed.

Nervous Chengdu residents spent the night outside or headed to the suburbs. State media citing the Sichuan seismology bureau, reported 313 aftershocks.

"We can't get to sleep. We're afraid of the earthquake. We're afraid of all the shaking," said 52-year-old factory worker Huang Ju, who took her ailing, elderly mother out of the Jinjiang District People's Hospital.

Outside the hospital, Huang sat in a wheelchair wrapped in blankets while her mother, who was ill, slept in a hospital bed next to her.

The earthquake hit one of the last homes of the giant panda at the Wolong Nature Reserve and panda breeding center, in Wenchuan county, which remained out of contact, Xinhua said.

The Wolong PandaCam, a live online video feed showing the activities of the pandas at the nature reserve, stopped showing footage of the animals late Sunday night. About 1,200 pandas — 80 percent of the surviving wild population in China — live in several mountainous areas of Sichuan.

The earthquake, China's deadliest since 1976, occurred in an area with numerous fault lines that have triggered destructive temblors before. A magnitude 7.5 earthquake in Diexi, Sichuan that hit on August 25, 1933 killed more than 9,300 people.

The U.S. Geological Survey initially said Monday's quake had a magnitude of 7.8 but later revised it to 7.9.

In Juyuan town, Xinhua said its reporters saw buried teenagers struggling to break loose from underneath the rubble of the three-story building "while others were crying out for help."

As many as 900 students were trapped and four ninth graders were immediately killed, Xinhua said. Photos showed people using cranes, mechanical hoists and their hands to remove slabs of concrete and steel.

Two girls were quoted by Xinhua as saying they escaped because they had "run faster than others."

Though news trickled out in the first hours after the quake, the government and its media quickly mobilized, with nearly 8,000 soldiers and police sent to the area. China Central Television ran non-stop coverage, with phone reports from reporters and a few isolated camera shots from the scene.

Disasters always pose a test to the communist government, whose mandate in part rests on providing relief to those in need. In recent years, the government has improved emergency planning and rapid response training for the military.

The earthquake also rattled buildings in Beijing, some 930 miles to the north, less than three months before the Chinese capital was expected to be full of hundreds of thousands of foreign visitors for the Summer Olympics.

Li Jiulin, a top engineer on the 91,000-seat National Stadium — known as the Bird's Nest and the jewel of the Olympics — was conducting an inspection at the venue when the quake occurred. He told reporters the building was designed to withstand a 8.0 quake.

"The Olympic venues were not affected by the earthquake," said Sun Weide, a spokesman for the Beijing organizing committee.

IOC President Jacques Rogge sent "deepest felt condolences for the victims" in a letter written to China's president.

"The Olympic Movement is at your side, especially during these difficult moments. Our thoughts are with you." Rogge said in his letter.

Skyscrapers swayed in Shanghai and in the Taiwanese capital of Taipei, 100 miles off the southeastern Chinese coast. There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

The quake was felt as far away as the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi, where some people hurried out of swaying office buildings and into the streets downtown. A building in the Thai capital of Bangkok also was evacuated after the quake was felt there.

The last serious earthquake in China was in 2003, when a 6.8-magnitude quake killed 268 people in Bachu county in the west of Xinjiang.

China's deadliest earthquake in modern history struck the northeastern city of Tangshan on July 28, 1976, killing 240,000 people.

 
Death toll in China earthquake rises to 9,600, may go higher
(AP)

12 May 2008

 

CHONGQING, China - A massive earthquake struck central China on Monday, killing more than 9,600 people, trapping nearly 900 students under the rubble of their school and raising fears the overall death toll could increase sharply.

In Beichuan county, just east of the epicenter, 80 percent of the buildings had collapsed and some 10,000 people were injured aside from the 7,000 to 9,000 dead, the official Xinhua News Agency said. Xinhua cited the Sichuan provincial government as saying 7,651 people died in the province but the situation in at least two counties remain unclear.

The 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck in the middle of the afternoon _ when classrooms and office towers were full _ 57 miles (92 kilometers) northwest of Sichuan’s capital of Chengdu. The quake emptied office buildings across the country in Beijing; could be felt as far away as Vietnam; crashed telephone networks; and hours later, left parts of Chengdu, a city of 10 million, in darkness.

In Juyuan town in Dujiangyan city, just south of the epicenter, the middle school collapsed, burying the students and immediately killing four ninth graders, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. Xinhua said its reporters in Juyuan town saw buried teenagers struggling to break free from the rubble ˘while others were crying out for help.’

Photos posted on the Internet and found on the Chinese search engine Baidu showed arms and a torso sticking out of the rubble of the school as dozens of people worked to free them, using small mechanical winches or their hands to move concrete slabs. Xinhua said 50 bodies had been pulled from the debris but did not say if they were alive.

Another photo from Wenchuan, closest to the epicenter, showed what appeared to have been a six-story building flattened, ripped away from taller buildings of gray concrete. Xinhua reported students were also buried under five other toppled schools in Deyang city.

The communist leadership said late Monday that ˘thousands’ had died, and that besides those in Sichuan, the quake had caused deaths in three other provinces and the mega-city of Chongqing.

Beijing mobilized more than 5,000 soldiers and police to provide rescue in Sichuan and put the province on the second-highest level of emergency footing. Premier Wen Jiabao, a geologist by training, called the quake ˘a major geological disaster’ and flew into Chengdu to oversee the rescue and relief operations.

The quake was one of the deadliest in three decades and posed a challenge to a government already grappling with discontent over high inflation and a widespread uprising among Tibetans in western China while trying to prepare for the Beijing Olympics this August.

Stock markets in Shanghai and Shenzhen seesawed Monday, dropping on inflation worries and then rising and tapering off over worries about the quake’s economic impact to post slight gains.

The epicenter lies on a fault where South Asia pushes against the Eurasian land mass, smashing the Sichuan plain into mountains leading to the Tibetan highlands, near communities that rose up in sometimes violent protests against Chinese rule in mid-March.

Much of the area has been closed to foreign media and travelers since, compounding the difficulties of getting information from the region. Chengdu’s airport was closed. For much of the day, electric power and telephone networks into Chengdu and other affected areas were down, and panicked residents overloaded parts of the remaining telephone system with calls.

Residents fled into the streets and described an eerie feeling as people stayed outside into the night, fearing another quake. State media citing the Sichuan seismology bureau reported 313 aftershocks.

Although it was difficult to telephone Chengdu, an Israeli student, Ronen Medzini, sent a text message to The Associated Press saying there were power and water outages there.

˘Traffic jams, no running water, power outs, everyone sitting in the streets, patients evacuated from hospitals sitting outside and waiting,’ Medzini said.

A reporter from a US public radio network, National Public Radio, said the earthquake hit around 2:30 p.m. and lasted about three minutes total.

˘I was in a building, everybody raced outside when we felt it. The building started to shake, there was a huge rumble, and everybody ran,’ said NPR reporter Melissa Block in comments aired by the network.

˘There’s still many, many people out in the streets, they don’t want to go back into the buildings, because there are rumors of aftershocks and possible secondary quakes,’ she said as she drove through Chengdu.

The quake was centered about 6 miles (10 kilometers) below the surface, the US Geological Survey said on its Web site. The depth of the quake made it so wide-ranging, Chinese and Western seismologists said.

State television broadcast tips for anyone trapped in the earthquake. ˘If you’re buried, keep calm and conserve your energy. Seek water and food, and wait patiently for rescue,’ CCTV said.

The earthquake also rattled buildings in Beijing 930 miles (1,500 kilometers) to the north, causing office towers to evacuate. People ran screaming into the streets in other cities, where many residents said they had never felt an earthquake.

Some 660 miles (1,100 kilometers) to the east in Anhui province, chandeliers swayed in the lobby of the Buckingham Palace Hotel. ˘We’ve never felt anything like this our whole lives,’ said a hotel employee surnamed Zhu.

Patients at the Fuyang People’s No. 1 Hospital were evacuated. An hour after the quake, a half-dozen patients in blue-striped pajamas stood outside the hospital. One was laying on a hospital bed in the parking lot.

In Beijing, where hundreds of thousands of foreign visitors are expected for the Olympics, which start on Aug. 8, venues for the games were undamaged.

Li Jiulin, a top engineer on the 91,000-seat National Stadium _ known as the Bird’s Nest and the jewel of the Olympics _ was conducting an inspection at the venue when the quake occurred. He told reporters the building was designed to withstand a 8.0 quake.

˘The Olympic venues were not affected by the earthquake,’ said Sun Weide, a spokesman for the Beijing organizing committee. ˘We considered earthquakes when building those venues.’

Premier Wen, after arriving in Chengdu, traveled to Dujiangyan, near the collapsed middle school. One his aircraft, he appealed for people to rally together.

˘This is an especially challenging task,’ state television showed Wen saying, reading from a statement. ˘In the face of the disaster, what’s most important is calmness, confidence, courage and powerful command.’

A magnitude 7.8 earthquake is considered a major event, capable of causing widespread damage and injuries in populated areas.

The quake appeared to be the deadliest since the most devastating in modern history, which killed 240,000 people in the city of Tangshan, near Beijing in 1976.

A 1933 quake near the area where Monday’s struck killed at least 9,000, according to geologists.

  

From AbundantHope.net

Environment/Science
Explanation of China's quake
By Michael Mandeville
May 12, 2008, 14:46

BULLETIN ITEM: Eurasia Cracking At Sichuan China - 7.8 Quake followed by strong Class 5+ Aftershocks Every 30 Minutes Or Less

by MW Mandeville (for release to all media)

[May 12, 2008 ECB] This Great Quake emerged as a simple fault snap, suddenly and without warning. Although it struck in an earthquake prone area of Southeast Eurasia, far inland from subduction zones, the quake had no major pre-cursors in the area, unlike the recent large quake near Japan. Following this quake large aftershocks continue to shake the area as frequently as every 15 minutes. Existing metrics as of Monday morning which describe this quake are likely very inaccurate. This inner continental quake has killed perhaps ten(s) of thousands but the numbers will likely rapidly rise like the still on-going disaster in Myanmar.

Pre cursors for this quake can be identified if the range of view is expanded to most of continental Eurasia. On Saturday and Sunday (Arizona Mountain Time) most world quake activity 4+ ranged through the southern tier of Eurasia in the broad belt which ranges from the Eastern Mediterranean through to Southeast Asia and accross the Sichuan area to as far as Taiwan. From this perspective, the Sichuan quake is obviously part of a major tectonic "adjustment" in the shape of Eurasia, most likely forced by vectors from the Southern Hemisphere, ranging from the northeastern movements of Africa, the Indian Ocean, and the Australian tectonic plates.

The quake in Sichuan most likely was also partly created by the forces in the Pacific Plate. Sichuan area is at a vector angle of 170 degrees or greater to the Pacific Plate, which has quite obviously moving at an accelerated pace during the past 30 days. This rapidly moving (relatively speaking) ocean bottom plate has created both Class 7 quakes and volcanic eruptions around the Pacific Rim during the past few months, most especially during the past 30 days.

Most likely a major factor in the motion of the Pacific Ocean bottom is an accleration of rifting (spreading of the Earth's crust) in the East Pacific Rise portion of the Great Rift which snakes around the Earth at the bottoms of the oceans. The acceleration of spreading has been evident for the past few months. It is likely releasing far more heat into the bottom of the East Pacific than normal and this may be the "gating" phase which will produce the next El Nino, which is likely to emerge into visibility during the latter part of 2008 and last through the first half of 2009. Ironically, then, the Great Quakes in Japan and China this past week may be heralds of record-breaking El Nino year soon to come.

http://www.michaelmandeville.com/

© Copyright by AbundantHope.net all rights reserved

 
Death toll in China quake exceeds 12,000
By WILLIAM FOREMAN, Associated Press Write
5-13-08

DUJIANGYAN, China - The toll of the dead and missing soared as rescue workers dug through flattened schools and homes on Tuesday in a desperate attempt to find survivors of China's worst earthquake in three decades.

The official Xinhua News Agency said the death toll exceeded 12,000 in Sichuan province alone, and 18,645 were still buried in debris in the city of Mianyang, near the epicenter of Monday's massive, 7.9-magnitude quake.

The Sichuan Daily newspaper reported on its Web site that more than 26,000 people were injured in Mianyang.

The numbers of casualties was expected to rise due to the remoteness of the areas affected by the quake and difficulty in finding buried victims.

There was little prospect that many survivors would be found under the rubble. Only 58 people were extricated from demolished buildings across the quake area so far, China Seismological Bureau spokesman Zhang Hongwei told Xinhua. In one county, 80 percent of the buildings were destroyed.

Rain was impeding efforts and a group of paratroopers called off a rescue mission to the epicenter due to heavy storms, Xinhua reported.

More than two dozen British and American tourists who were thought to be panda-watching in the area also remained missing.

Officials urged the public not to abandon hope.

"Survivors can hold on for some time. Now it's not time to give up," Wang Zhenyao, disaster relief division director at the Ministry of Civil Affairs, told reporters in Beijing.

Premier Wen Jiabao, who rushed to the area to oversee rescue efforts, said a push was on to clear roads and restore electricity as soon as possible. His visit to the disaster scene was prominently featured on state TV, a gesture meant to reassure people that the ruling party was doing all it could.

"We will save the people," Wen said through a bullhorn to survivors as he toured the disaster scene, in footage shown on CCTV. "As long as the people are there, factories can be built into even better ones, and so can the towns and counties."

State media said rescue workers had reached the epicenter in Wenchuan county — where the number of casualties was still unknown. The quake was centered just north of the Sichuan provincial capital of Chengdu in central China, tearing into urban areas and mountain villages.

Earthquake rescue experts in orange jumpsuits extricated bloody survivors on stretchers from demolished buildings.

Some 20,000 soldiers and police arrived in the disaster area with 30,000 more on the way by plane, train, trucks and even on foot, the Defense Ministry told Xinhua.

Aftershocks rattled the region for a second day, sending people running into the streets in Chengdu. The U.S. Geological Survey measured the shocks between magnitude 4 and 6, some of the strongest since Monday's quake.

Zhou Chun, a 70-year-old retired mechanic, was leaving Dujiangyan with a soiled light blue blanket draped over his shoulders.

"My wife died in the quake. My house was destroyed," he said. "I am going to Chengdu, but I don't know where I'll live."

Zhou and other survivors were pulling luggage and clutching plastic bags of food amid a steady drizzle and the constant wall of ambulances.

Just east of the epicenter, 1,000 students and teachers were killed or missing at a collapsed high school in Beichuan county — a six-story building reduced to a pile of rubble about two yards high, according to Xinhua. Xinhua said 80 percent of the buildings had collapsed in Beichuan alone.

At another leveled school in Dujiangyan, 900 students were feared dead. As bodies of teenagers were carried out on doors used as makeshift stretchers, relatives lit incense and candles and also set off fireworks to ward away evil spirits.

Elsewhere in Gansu province, a 40-car freight train derailed in the quake that included 13 gasoline tankers was still burning Tuesday, Xinhua said.

Gasoline lines grew in Chengdu and grocery stores shelves were almost empty. The Ministry of Health issued an appeal for blood donations to help the quake victims.

Fifteen missing British tourists were believed to have been in the area at the time of the quake and were "out of reach," Xinhua reported.

They were likely visiting the Wolong Nature Reserve, home to more than 100 giant pandas, whose fate also was not known, Xinhua said, adding that 60 pandas at another breeding center in Chengdu were safe.

Another group of 12 Americans also on panda-watching tour sponsored by the U.S. office of the World Wildlife Fund remained out of contact Tuesday, said Tan Rui, WWF communications officer in China.

Two Chinese-Americans and a Thai tourist also were missing in Sichuan province, the agency said, citing tourism officials.

Expressions of sympathy and offers of help poured in from the United States, Japan and the European Union, among others.

The Dalai Lama, who has been vilified by Chinese authorities who blame him for recent unrest in Tibet, offered prayers for the victims. The epicenter is just south of some Tibetan mountain areas that saw anti-government protests earlier this year.

Beijing Games organizers said the Olympic torch relay will continue as planned through the quake-affected area next month.

The Chinese government said it would welcome outside aid, and Russia was sending a plane with rescuers and supplies, the country's Interfax news agency reported.

But Wang, the disaster relief official, said international aid workers would not be allowed to travel to the affected area.

"We welcome funds and supplies; we can't accommodate personnel at this point," he said.

China's Ministry of Finance said it had allocated $123 million in aid for quake-hit areas.

The quake was China's deadliest since 1976, when 240,000 people were killed in the city of Tangshan, near Beijing in 1976. Financial analysts said the quake would have only a limited impact on the country's booming economy.

Associated Press writers Christopher Bodeen in Juyuan and Audra Ang in Chengdu contributed to this report.

 

August 13, 2004
AP

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese state media now reports the death toll from the massive earthquake that hit the country on Monday now exceeds 12,000 in Sichuan province alone.
A day after the powerful 7.9 magnitude quake struck Monday afternoon, state media said rescue workers had reached the epicenter in Wenchuan county — where the number of casualties was still unknown.

But rain was impeding efforts and a group of paratroopers called off a mission to the area due to heavy storms, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

The death toll rose to 11,921, said Wang Zhenyao, disaster relief division director at the Ministry of Civil Affairs. At least 4,800 people remained buried in Mianzhu, 60 miles from the epicenter, Xinhua said, citing local authorities.

The casualty figures were expected to rise and remained uncertain due to the remote areas affected by the quake and difficulty in finding buried victims.

‘TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE'

The tremors caused a wide swath of damage across central China, sending people fleeing with their few salvaged belongings. Earthquake rescue experts in orange jumpsuits extricated bloody survivors on stretchers from demolished buildings, and some 34,000 troops swarmed into the region to help.

Photo: Local residents run to get away from fallen rock in aftershock in the earthquake-affected Mianyang, southwest China's Sichuan Province, Tuesday, May 13, 2008. The death toll from a powerful earthquake in China that toppled buildings, schools and chemical plants climbed Tuesday to about 10,000, while untold numbers remained trapped after the country's worst quake in three decades. (AP Photo/Kyodo News)

But hope was fleeting as bodies covered with sheets lined streets and filled schoolyards. Only 58 people were extricated from collapsed buildings across the quake area, China Seismological Bureau spokesman Zhang Hongwei told Xinhua, as rescuers raced to save more.

"Time is of the essence," said disaster relief director Wang, adding that rescue efforts could take a week.

"Survivors can hold on for some time. Now it's not time to give up," Wang told reporters in Beijing.

Aftershocks rattled the region for a second day, sending people running into the streets in the city of Chengdu. The U.S. Geological Survey measured the shocks between magnitude 4 and 6, some of the strongest since Monday's quake.

A 40-car freight train derailed in the quake that included 13 gasoline tankers was still burning Tuesday, Xinhua said, with no word on casualties.
 

Wounded residents lay on beds to receive treatment after Monday's powerful earthquake, in Longnan, northwest China's Gansu Province, Tuesday, May 13, 2008. State media reports that the death toll from the earthquake in central China has climbed to nearly 10,000 in the worst-hit province. (Han Chuanhao / AP)

‘I DON'T KNOW WHERE I'LL LIVE’

Zhou Chun, a 70-year-old retired mechanic, was leaving Dujiangyan with a soiled light blue blanket draped over his shoulders.

"My wife died in the quake. My house was destroyed," he said.

"I am going to Chengdu, but I don't know where I'll live."

Zhou and other survivors were pulling luggage and clutching plastic bags of food amid a steady drizzle and the constant wall of ambulances.

Just east of the epicenter, 1,000 students and teachers were killed or missing at a collapsed high school in Beichuan county — a more than six-story building reduced to a pile of rubble about two yards high, according to Xinhua. The deaths were separate from another leveled school in Dujiangyan where 900 students are feared dead.

Xinhua said up to 5,000 people were killed and 80 percent of the buildings had collapsed in Beichuan, in a region of small cities and towns set amid steep hills north of Sichuan's provincial capital of Chengdu. The government has poured more than 16,000 troops into the area with tens of thousands more on the way.

China's Xinhua News Agency showed two wounded men receive medical treatment outside makeshift tents a day after a 7.9-magnitude quake struck Sichuan Province, in neighboring Ningqiang County, north China's Shaanxi Province, on Tuesday, May 13, 2008. (Tao Ming / AP)

In Dujiangyan, rescue teams were trying to get to a woman who was eight months pregnant and trapped in a seven-story apartment building that collapsed.

Nearby, a man in his late 50s who refused to give his name, said his father was missing in the rubble of his home. "Yesterday, when the earthquake happened our home collapsed really quickly and I heard my father yell, ‘Help, help, help,’” the man said.

Premier Wen Jiabao, who flew to the area to oversee rescue efforts, said a push was on to clear roads and restore electricity as soon as possible.

"We must try our best to open up roads to the epicenter and rescue people trapped in disaster-hit areas," he told an early morning emergency meeting in Dujiangyan.

China's Ministry of Health issued an appeal for blood donations to help the victims of the quake.

Fifteen missing British tourists were believed in that area at the time of the quake and were "out of reach," Xinhua reported.

They were likely visiting the Wolong Nature Reserve, home to more than 100 giant pandas, whose fate also was not known, Xinhua said. Xinhua reported that 60 pandas at another breeding center in Chengdu were safe.

Soldiers carted the wounded out of the rubble in Sichuan Province, China, on Tuesday after the deadly earthquake that rocked China the day before. (By Chen Xie, Xinhua via AP)

ANOTHER EVENT TO TARNISH OLYMPIC RUN-UP

The disaster comes less than three months before the start of the Beijing Olympics. The tragedy is just the latest event to tarnish the run-up to the event meant to showcase China's rise that has been marked by internal strife and anti-China sentiment abroad.

The Olympics torch relay will continue unaltered through the quake-affected area next month, Beijing organizers said.

Expressions of sympathy and offers of help poured in from the United States, Japan and the European Union, among others.

The government said it would welcome outside aid. Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said relief authorities "are ready to make contact with relevant countries and organizations."

Photo: Rescuers search for victims in the debris of a hospital after the earthquake in Dujiangyan, in southwest China's Sichuan province. (AP)

Russia was sending a plane with rescuers and aid, the country's Interfax news agency reported.

AID, BUT NOT AID WORKERS, WELCOME

But Wang, the disaster relief official, said international aid workers would not be allowed to travel to the affected area.

"We welcome funds and supplies, we can't accommodate personnel at this point," he said.

China's Ministry of Finance said it had allocated around $123 million in aid for quake-hit areas.

The quake was China's deadliest since 1976, when 240,000 people were killed in the city of Tangshan, near Beijing in 1976.

Financial analysts said the quake would have only a limited impact on the country's booming economy.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24589987/

 

China earthquake:
Race to plug dam as death toll rises to 15,000

Two thousand Chinese soldiers are working to plug an "extremely dangerous" cracks in a dam upriver from the earthquake-hit town of Dujiangyan.

The official Xinhua news agency said that 2,000 troops had been sent to work on the Zipingku Dam, just north of the provincial capital of Chengdu.

The new criss comes as rescue workers are struggling to reach nearly 60,000 people who remain missing near the epicentre of the Sichuan earthquake, prompting fears that the death toll will continue to soar.

This morning officials speaking from the epicentre of Monday's 7.9 magnitude earthquake in Sichuan province said that entire towns in the area had been 'razed to the ground' and left without a single house standi

Xinhua, the state's official news agency, reported this morning that 178 children from one school in northern Sichuan province had been found dead, buried under the rubble while they were napping, adding to the official death toll of nearly 15,000.

A British embassy rapid reaction team this morning flew into Chengdu, the provincial capital of Sichuan, to help co-ordinate the search for Britons who went missing after the disaster.

The British ambassador to China, Sir William Ehrman, also arrived in Chengdu this morning to help trace 19 members of a tour party that was in a coach travelling to the Wolong panda reserve when the earthquake struck on Monday.

Today China poured 50,000 troops into Sichuan in an attempt to find any remaining survivors of the earthquake among the mud, rubble and tangled buildings.

But they had to battle to get through landslides which had cut off Wenchuan county, and poor weather conditions continued to hamper aid efforts.

Just under 19,000 people are believed to have been buried under debris in Mianyang - one of the cities worst affected.

One steam turbine factory just outside was almost wiped out by the quake, and 500 workers and their family members were missing, local media reported.

Amid the grief, however, there was cause for hope of finding more survivors today in the levelled villages that lie under the White Cloud Mountain.

Behind these mountains lie the epicentre of the Sichuan earthquake, where reports from the first rescuers speak of tens of thousands of missing and dead.

In Wudu village, some 20 miles from the epicentre, most of the brick and tile houses have collapsed. The worst building affected was the school, where 130 children have been brought out dead, and another 150 are buried beneath the rubble.

But all morning rescuers had heard the weak voice of a 12-year-old boy crying out from beneath. His leg was trapped under a concrete stanchion, but two more were balanced against each other to protect him in a triangle of space.

A nurse from the village clinic managed to attach an intravenous drip to his arm before he lapsed into unconsciousness.

First a crane and then, more gently, workers from the local volunteer rescue team lifted away chunks of concrete. Finally, there were calls for the doctor, then, a few minutes later, shouts and applause.

When they brought him down on a stretcher, he looked weak, but he was still breathing. Locals said his name was Li Ke as he was rushed away to an ambulance.

Yang Jie, head of the volunteer team, put together four years ago to deal with exactly this sort of emergency, warned it was too soon to say if he would survive.

“We brought out one or two yesterday who were still alive but died later,” she said. “This boy’s pulse was weak.”

The primary school was just starting afternoon lessons when the building shook. “I didn’t know what was happening, I just ran,” said Li Tingting, 12. “Then a teacher pulled me clear. I am one of three or four in my class who survived.”

Relatives came to dig out the rubble themselves while they waited for the army to arrive. Zhang Wanling, 56, rescued his two-year-old granddaughter from the kindergarten, a separate building still standing, though at a crazy angle.

In any case, there is little other consolation for the villages of this region immediately to the east of Wenchuan, the epicentre.

Whole streets of houses and shops have collapsed. Elsewhere in Wudu, outside the primary school, scores of people are said to have died, including most of the village officials. Forty are still buried.

Further into the mountains, the village of Baiguo lost 60 people, including 18 from its small school of 40 children. Two remain underneath, but the army have given up the search, and moved on to other parts of the disaster.

Village after village has a similar story. In all, this county is known to have lost more than 2,000 dead, a conservative estimate. In neighbouring Wenchuan, rescuers say 60,000 people are unaccounted for, while in Beichuan to the north there are also thousands missing.

Meanwhile, all along the roads, local people are pouring into the towns in the search of shelter and food. “Water is now the most important thing,” said Gao Kaiying, a Baiguo kindergarten teacher.

Trucks were beginning to travel up the main roads carrying boxes of noodles and biscuits, only to be stormed by desperate crowds. “They had better set up a distribution system, or we will be stealing what we can,” said one man.

In Mianzhu, where rescuers said the death toll had risen to 3,000, about 500 people were pulled out alive from crushed buildings.

A team of 1,300 soldiers and medical staff arrived on foot in Wenchuan, the county where the earthquake struck just before 2.30pm on Monday.

In Yingxiu, a town of 12,000 people, only 2,300 had been found alive, He Biao, the director of the prefecture's emergency office, told state television.

In another south-western town, 80 per cent of homes had collapsed, along with roads and bridges, and altogether in the county 60,000 people were unaccounted for, he said.

"They could hear people under the debris calling for help, but no one could, because there were no professional rescue teams," he said.

The People's Liberation Army said 50,000 troops were working in the affected region. But, though paratroops have been ordered to drop into Wenchuan, helicopter operations are being hampered by heavy rain and fog across much of the area.

"What we most need is medicine," Mr He said. "There is no medicine, there are no doctors and after such a long time, no food."

British agencies including Oxfam and Save the Children are helping with the relief effort, sending expert teams to the region. David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, praised China's "exemplary" response to disaster, in comparison to the "callous" response of the Burmese authorities.

Even if a majority of the missing are found safe and well, the number of deaths is sure to escalate well beyond the 12,000 so far confirmed.

The Olympic torch relay will be scaled back to mark the disaster, organisers said.

 

China: Quake death toll could reach 50,000

WILLIAM FOREMAN, Associated Press Writer
5-15-08

LUOSHUI TOWN, China - Troops dug burial pits in this quake-shattered town and black smoke poured from crematorium chimneys elsewhere in central China as priorities began shifting Thursday from the hunt for survivors to dealing with the dead. Officials said the final toll could more than double to 50,000.

As the massive military-led recovery operation inched farther into regions cut off by Monday's quake, the government sought to enlist the public's help with an appeal for everything from hammers to cranes and, in a turnabout, began accepting foreign aid missions, the first from regional rival Japan.

Millions of survivors left homeless or too terrified to go indoors faced their fourth night under tarpaulins, tents or nothing at all as workers patched roads and cleared debris to reach more outlying towns in the disaster zone.

On Friday, Chinese President Hu Jintao flew to Sichuan to support victims and express "appreciation to the public and cadres in the disaster zone," the Xinhua said.

State media said that rescuers had finally reached all 58 counties and townships severely damaged.

Health officials said there have been no outbreaks of disease so far, with workers rushing to inoculate survivors against disease, supply them with drinking water, and find ways to dispose of an overwhelming number of corpses.

"There are still bodies in the hills, and pits are being dug to bury them," said Zhao Xiaoli, a nurse in the ruined town of Hanwang. "There's no way to bring them down. It's too dangerous."

But the ministry said on its Web site that to prevent disease, bodies should be cleaned on the spot and buried as soon as possible.

Troops in the town of Luoshui in a quake-ravaged area used a mechanical shovel to dig a pit on a hilltop. Two bodies wrapped in white sheets lay beside it. Down the hill sat four mounds of lime.

In a sign of nervousness, 50 troops lined the road outside Luoshui. Five farmers watched them dig the burial pit, after performing brief funerary rites. Local police detained an Associated Press reporter and photographer who took photos of the scene, holding them in a government compound for 3 1/2 hours before releasing them without explanation.

Across the quake zone in Dujiangyan, troops in face masks collected corpses and loaded them onto a flatbed truck. Thick black smoke streamed from the twin chimneys of the town's crematorium.

Fears about damage to a major dam in the quake zone appeared to ease. The Zipingpu dam had reportedly suffered cracks from the disaster, but there was no repair work or extra security at the dam when it was reached Thursday by an AP photographer, indicating the threat to the structure had likely passed.

People trying to hike into Wenchuan walked on top of the dam as water spilled from an outlet, lowering levels in the reservoir and alleviating pressure on the dam.

Just behind the dam, soldiers set up a staging area preparing speed boats to lower into the reservoir and ferry soldiers in lifejackets, engineers and medical staff up river to Yingxiu, a town flattened by the quake.

The government says "the dam will hold, but then the longer-term question is what to do with it — to keep it or dismantle it," said Andrew Mertha of Washington University in St. Louis, author of a book on Chinese dams, China's Water Warriors: Citizen Action and Policy Change,

The emergency headquarters of the State Council, China's Cabinet, said the confirmed death toll had reached 19,509 — up more than 4,500 from the day before. The council said deaths could rise to 50,000, state media reported.

The provincial government said more than 12,300 remained buried and another 102,100 were injured in Sichuan, where the quake was centered.

Experts said hope was quickly fading for anyone still caught in the wreckage of homes, schools, offices and factories that collapsed in the magnitude-7.9 quake, the most powerful in three decades in quake-prone China.

"Generally speaking, anyone buried in an earthquake can survive without water and food for three days," said Gu Linsheng, a researcher with Tsinghua University's Emergency Management Research Center. "After that, it's usually a miracle for anyone to survive."

Amazing survival stories did emerge, and were seized on by Chinese media whose blanket coverage has been dominated by images of carnage.

In Dujiangyan, a 22-year-old woman was pulled to safety after more than three days trapped under debris. Covered in dust and peering out through a small opening, she waved and was interviewed by state television as hard-hatted rescuers worked to free her.

"I was confident that you were coming to rescue me. I'm alive. I'm so happy," the unnamed woman said on CCTV.

Premier Wen Jiabao, who has been in the quake zone since Monday, urged those helping the injured to keep up their efforts. Repeating a phrase that has become a government mantra this week, Vice Health Minister Gao Qiang said every effort would be made to find survivors.

"We will never give up hope," Gao told reporters in Beijing. "For every thread of hope, our efforts will increase a hundredfold. We will never give up."

With more than 130,000 soldiers and police mobilized in the relief effort, roads were cleared Thursday to two key areas that took the brunt of the quake, with workers making it to Wenchuan at the epicenter and also through to Beichuan county, the Xinhua News Agency reported. Communication cables were also reconnected to Wenchuan.

Power was restored to most of Sichuan for the first time since the quake, although Beichuan county remained without electricity, Xinhua said.

Much of the official publicity dwelled on efforts to reach the trapped but actual ground operations focused on delivering food and medical aid to survivors and disposing of the dead.

In Dujiangyan, on the road between the provincial capital of Chengdu and the epicenter, a dozen bodies lay on a sidewalk as police and militia pulverized rubble with cranes and back hoes. The bodies were later lifted onto a flatbed truck, joining some half-dozen corpses.

At the crematorium, some grieving relatives were rushed through funeral rites by harried workers. Scores of bodies lay on concrete in a waiting area — outnumbering the handful of chapels usually used in funerals.

Thick black smoke streamed from the crematorium's pair of chimneys as families cleaned and dressed the dead in funeral clothes, including fresh socks and sneakers for children.

Fireworks were set off every few minutes and families burned incense, candles and spirit money. Such traditions meant to send the dead peacefully into the afterlife were once banned by the communist authorities but have revived in recent years with free-market reforms and rising prosperity. Burial, which likewise the government once tried to stamp out, has become common in the countryside, although still difficult for people in crowded cities.

In an appeal posted on its Web site, the Ministry of Information Industry called on the Chinese to donate rescue equipment including hammers, shovels, demolition tools and rubber boats — 100 cranes were also needed, it said.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has also issued an emergency appeal for medical help, food, water and tents.

After initially refusing offers of foreign aid workers, China welcomed a Japanese rescue team. Made up of firefighters, police, coast guard and aid officials, the first half of the team arrived in Beijing on Thursday and would head to the disaster area Friday, Xinhua said.

Japan and China have been at odds for years over disputed borders, Japan's treatment of its wartime invasion of China, anti-Japanese protests in China, and general Japanese unease over Beijing's rapidly growing diplomatic, military and economic power. Leaders of the two countries met in Tokyo earlier this month to try to resolve their differences.

The Foreign Ministry said Russian, South Korean and Singaporean teams would join soon.

China had so far received international aid worth more than $100 million and materials worth more than $10 million, Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said at a briefing. But it still needed supplies of tents, clothes, communication equipment, machines for disaster relief, and medicines, he said.

"The Chinese authorities have done a fantastic job mobilizing troops, but troops are not everything. You need specialist teams with equipment otherwise you're not going to find them," said John Holland, operations director of Rapid UK, a search and rescue charity with two decades of experience handling international disasters. ___

Associated Press writers Audra Ang in Mianyang, Christopher Bodeen in Dujiangyan, and Cara Anna and Anita Chang in Beijing contributed to this report.

 

Survivors pulled from rubble of China quake

By AUDRA ANG, Associated Press Writer

5-16-08

BEICHUAN, China - Rescuers pulled survivors from the rubble Friday who had been buried for four days as a strong aftershock sparked landslides near the epicenter of this week's powerful earthquake.

The first foreign rescue workers since Monday's magnitude 7.9 temblor were allowed to the scene, and helicopters dropped leaflets urging people to "unite together" and providing survival tips. Officials have said the quake's final toll could reach 50,000.

A day past what experts call the critical three-day window for finding survivors, rescuers pulled a nurse to safety who had been trapped for 96 hours in the debris of a clinic in Beichuan county, Xinhua reported.

A call from the ruins of an apartment building drew a group of volunteers, who spent more than four hours using hands and spades to rescue a middle-aged woman. Brought to the surface, she could not speak and was given to medics.

"She had the will to live," said Xu Tao, one of the volunteers, a demobilized soldier and now an office worker in the eastern city of Tangshan. "I'm just exhausted."

About 10 people were pulled free Friday. Survivors also were being found elsewhere, with a man pulled from the wreckage of a fertilizer plant near Shifang city.

An aftershock rattled parts of central Sichuan province Friday afternoon, the official Xinhua News Agency said, citing its reporters at the scene. A number of vehicles were buried on a road leading to the epicenter, and casualties were unknown.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the latest tremor measured magnitude 5.5, one of the strongest among dozens that have shaken the area.

Education and housing officials, meanwhile, took the rare move of fielding questions online from angry Chinese citizens over the many children who died in the quake. The official death toll had risen to about 22,069 on Friday, and another 14,000 still were buried in Sichuan.

The government said it would investigate why so many school buildings collapsed in the quake — destroying about 6,900 classrooms, not including the hardest-hit counties — and severely punish anyone responsible for shoddy construction.

More than 4 million apartments and homes had been damaged or destroyed in Sichuan province, according to Housing Minister Jiang Weixin. Jiang said the water supply situation was "extremely serious" in Sichuan, and not flowing at all in 20 cities and counties.

Caring for the untold tens of thousands or more survivors across the earthquake zone was stretching government resources.

Shifang's town square became a tented encampment holding 2,000 people and coordinator Li Yuanshao said there weren't enough tents. Many had walked from surrounding towns with few belongings.

"We brought almost nothing, only the clothes we are wearing," said Zhang Xinyong, a junior in high school who had walked several hours to the camp. They were sleeping on donated bamboo mats and blankets.

In the town of Yingxiu, helicopters dropped leaflets urging people to "unite together" and giving survival tips like not to drink dirty water. Power and water remained cut off, forcing dazed, exhausted locals to hike 40 yards up a steep hill to a spring to fetch water.

On another hillside, at least 80 corpses in plastic body bags were placed into a trench dug by soldiers.

Dozens of people trudged up a winding mountain road to Beichuan, carrying backpacks and bags with food and medical supplies, on a quest for missing relatives.

Liu Jingyong, a 43-year-old migrant worker searching for his cousin, traveled two days by bus and now foot just to get near his relative's home.

"I have not had any information from him," Liu said. "This is so hard on me."

One villager, Pan Guihui, stood on the side of the road with a vacant look on her face.

She and her husband had just hiked 13 hours with her 1-year-old child, father and two brothers away from their destroyed village further up the mountain. They had stayed in the rubble until rescue workers arrived and ordered them out because of fears of landslides.

"I have just been so frightened this whole time. I don't know what we are going to do," said Pan, 35. The only belongings the family had were some clothes and a little food, among hundreds camped along the road. "We've lost everything. There's nothing left of our village, nothing left of our home."

As she spoke, hundreds of soldiers marched by in long columns out of Beichuan, some carrying shovels.

In the city of Hanwang, Zhou Furen walked hours by foot — borrowing the army green shoes she was wearing — to a factory where her son had worked and remained missing.

"I've been coming here every day, sitting here in the early morning, waiting," she said, weeping. "He's been missing for more than three days now. But for my son I would come every day."

President Hu Jintao made his first trip to the disaster zone, rallying troops among the massive relief operation of some 130,000 soldiers and police.

"The challenge is still severe, the task is still arduous and the time is pressing," Hu was quoted as saying by Xinhua. "Quake relief work has entered into the most crucial phase. We must make every effort, race against time and overcome all difficulties to achieve the final victory of the relief efforts."

The first international rescue crews arrived in the disaster area, after China dropped its initial reluctance to accept foreign personnel. Japanese rescuers started work early Friday, and teams from Russia, Singapore and South Korea later joined operations, Xinhua reported.

It was the first time ever that China accepted outside professionals for domestic disaster relief, Foreign Ministry counselor Li Wenliang told Xinhua.

The government said it had allocated a total of $772 million for earthquake relief, according to the central bank's Web site, up sharply from $159 million two days ago.

China also has received $457 million in donated money and goods for rescue efforts, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs, including $83 million from 19 countries and four international organizations.

Given the widespread destruction, AIR Worldwide — a catastrophe risk modeling firm — estimated losses to both insured and uninsured property would likely exceed $20 billion.

___

Associated Press writers Tini Tran in Hanwang and Anita Chang in Beijing contributed to this report. >

 

Thousands flee China quake area over flood fears

Last Updated: Saturday, May 17, 2008 | 10:28 AM ET

People carry their belongings on a tractor as they evacuate Mianyang, one of the cities hit hard by the earthquake.
People carry their belongings on a tractor as they evacuate Mianyang, one of the cities hit hard by the earthquake.
(Kyodo News/Associated Press)
 
Thousands of residents, along with relief workers helping earthquake survivors, left Beichuan city in China's Sichuan province for higher ground on Saturday after reports that a river may burst its banks and flood the area.

Some rivers in the region have become blocked by landslides rattled loose in last Monday's 7.9-magnitude quake.

Soldiers carried older people out of the city of Beichuan, one of the areas hit hardest, while survivors cradled babies on a road jammed with vehicles and people.

The official Xinhua News Agency said earlier that a lake in Beichuan county "may burst its bank at any time," but did not give details on why the water was rising.

The confirmed death toll rose Saturday to 28,881, government spokesman Guo Weimin said. The number was expected to rise because thousands of people remain buried in the rubble of collapsed buildings.

Chinese officials have previously said they believe at least 50,000 people have died.

More survivors were pulled from the rubble Saturday, including a young boy who was trapped for more than 100 hours.

Nearly five million people have been left homeless by the quake, which devastated China's southwest region.

The Chinese government estimates that 10 million people have been directly affected by the destruction of an estimated four million homes and apartments.

 

Thousands flee on China lake bank fears

Sat 17 May 2008, 18:39 GMT

Chris Buckley and John Ruwitch

BEICHUAN, China (Reuters) - Thousands of Chinese fled their homes on Saturday amid fears a lake could burst its banks, hampering rescue efforts after the deadliest earthquake in more than three decades killed about 29,000 people.

Rescue workers returned to Beichuan county, near the epicentre of the quake, in Sichuan province, but many residents were too frightened to return, nervous about a lake formed after aftershocks triggered landslides blocking the flow of a river.

After briefly evacuating, rescue work returned to normal at Beichuan," an official Web site (www.china.com.cn) said, blaming the evacuation on a false alarm.

A paramilitary officer had told Reuters earlier that the likelihood of the lake bursting its banks was "extremely big".

The situation was "very dangerous because there are still tremors causing landslides that could damage the dam", said Luo Gang, a building worker who left the southeastern port city of Xiamen and rushed home to look for his missing fiancee.

Rescue work had been complicated by bad weather, treacherous terrain and hundreds of aftershocks.

The United States Geological Survey reported a tremor of 6.1 magnitude centred 49 miles (80 km) west of Guangyuan, the latest in a series of aftershocks to hit Sichuan province. China's official Xinhua news agency said there was no immediate word from the area of additional damage or casualties.

"Although the time for the best chance of rescue ... has passed, saving lives remains the top priority of our work," President Hu Jintao told distraught survivors just over a week after a jubilant China celebrated the Olympic torch relay reaching the summit of Mount Everest.

As the weather becomes warmer, survivors were worried about hygiene and asked questions about their longer-term future.

"What we don't need now is more instant noodles," said truck driver Wang Jianhong in the city of Dujiangyan. "We want to know now what will happen with our lives."

Officials plan to distribute 0.5 kg (1.102 lb) of food and a 10 yuan ($1.43) subsidy each day to people with financial difficulties in quake-hit areas for three months, Xinhua reported, after a meeting chaired by Premier Wen Jiabao.

They also want to install mobile homes, temporary classrooms and clinics for quake-affected people.

PEOPLE TENSE

There has been growing concern about the safety of dams and reservoirs which have been weakened in the mountainous province of Sichuan, an area about the size of Spain.

In Sichuan and neighbouring Chongqing, 17 reservoirs were damaged, with some dams cracked or leaking water. Several are on the Min river, which tumbles through the worst-hit areas between the Tibetan plateau and the Sichuan plain.

The Lianhehua dam, built in the late 1950s northwest of Dujiangyan, showed cracks big enough to put a fist in.

"When the dam is in this shape, we cannot feel relaxed," said farmer Feng Binggui who has moved from his village below the dam into the hills.

China has said it expects the final death toll from Monday's 7.9 magnitude earthquake to exceed 50,000. About 4.8 million people have lost their homes and the days are numbered in which survivors can be found.

Cabinet spokesman Guo Weimin, taking a long pause to compose himself as he read from an updated casualty report at a news conference, put the death toll so far at 28,881.

Premier Wen said the quake was "the biggest and most destructive" since before the Communist revolution of 1949 and the quick response had helped reduce casualties.

That compares even with the 1976 tremor in the northern city of Tangshan which killed up to 300,000 people.

Sichuan Vice-Governor Li Chengyun said more than 188,100 people have been injured and about 10,600 people remain buried under rubble. About 2.6 million tents are needed to shelter 4.8 million displaced residents, he added.

A cable repair worker was killed on Saturday, three months before Beijing hosts the summer Olympics, when hit by rocks as a moderate aftershock hit Lixian county.

President Hu lauded rescue workers for their bravery in Wenchuan, epicentre of the quake, when an aftershock struck.

In a glimmer of hope that more people could be found alive, 33 people were rescued in Beichuan, including a 69-year-old villager who had been buried for 119 hours. Troops evacuated 18 scientists trapped in a forest in nearby Mianzhu.

China is on precautionary alert against possible radiation leaks, a government Web site said. The country's chief nuclear weapons research lab is in Mianyang, along with several secret atomic sites, but there are no nuclear power stations.

China has sent 150,000 troops to the disaster area, but roads buckled by the quake and blocked by landslides have made it hard for supplies and rescuers to reach the worst-hit areas.

Offers of help have flooded in and foreign rescue teams from Japan, Russia, Taiwan, South Korea and Singapore have arrived. Donations topped 6 billion yuan.

(Additional reporting by Guo Shipeng and Benjamin Kang Lim in Beijing and Donny Kwok in Hong Kong; Writing by Benjamin Kang Lim; Editing by Peter Millership)

 

China: Earthquake buried 32 sources of radiation

 May 20 09:32 AM US/Eastern
By ANITA CHANG
Associated Press Writer BEIJING (AP) - More than 30 sources of radiation were buried by debris from the massive earthquake in central China last week and all have either been recovered or safely cordoned off, state media reported Tuesday.

A French nuclear expert said the radioactive sources likely came from materials used in hospitals, factories or in research, not for weapons.

The Chinese government has previously said all nuclear facilities affected by the May 12 earthquake were safe and under control, but did not give any details about which sites were affected or whether any were damaged.

But the quake buried 32 sources of radiation under rubble in Sichuan province, the heart of the disaster zone, Xinhua News Agency reported, citing Minister of Environmental Protection Zhou Shengxian.

All but two have been recovered, and the remaining two have been located, cordoned and will soon be transported to a safer location, Xinhua said.

Xinhua did not elaborate on any potential threat to the public and did not provide details on the radioactive sources beyond calling them "nuclear facilities and radioactive sources for civilian purposes."

Though Sichuan has no commercial nuclear power plants, the province has extensive military and nuclear weapons research facilities. The headquarters for China's nuclear weapons design facility is in Mianyang and a plutonium processing facility is in Guangyuan, both cities damaged by the quake.

In response to the quake, the military sent soldiers to protect nuclear sites and the country's nuclear safety agency notified staff to be prepared in case of an environmental emergency.

China's main government Web site and a state-run newspaper described "nuclear facilities" and "radioactive sources" as including power plants, reactors, and sites for fuel production and waste disposal, as well as materials used for scientific research and medical treatment.

An official at a French nuclear watchdog who has seen reports from the Chinese nuclear safety agency said materials found in the rubble appeared to come from hospitals, factories or laboratories and were not for used for making nuclear fuel or weapons.

"It doesn't shock me that there would be radioactive items found," particularly hospital equipment, said Thierry Charles, director of plant safety at the French Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety.

An unknown number of hospitals were damaged or destroyed in the earthquake. The Sichuan province health department listed 489 major hospitals in areas that were hardest hit.

Workers removing radioactive material would first find it with detection devices, then extract the material and place it in a sealed container quickly, Charles said. Then it would be repaired or disposed of as nuclear waste.

Information so far suggests "a good reaction by the Chinese teams," Charles said.

However, he said risks remain, primarily from any materials that have not been retrieved or sealed. People who remain in close proximity could receive excessive doses of radiation.

There was also a risk that people could be exposed to radioactivity if some materials were crushed in a building collapse, for example, he said.

Overall, he did not foresee a major risk to groundwater or health because most of the material was probably metal equipment, not fuel or something that disperses more widely.

The French watchdog agency has previously said that China reported "light damage" to unspecified nuclear facilities that were being dismantled before the quake.

___

Associated Press Writer Angela Charlton in Paris contributed to this report.


Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved  

Deadly Aftershock Jolts Sichuan As Mourning Begins

1,000 hurt and three killed on eve of nationwide silence to start three days of recognition of disaster victims

May 19, 2008
Tania Branigan in Dujiangyan
UK Guardian

China will begin three days of mourning with a nationwide silence at 2.28pm this afternoon, precisely one week after the 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck.

Photo: Panoramic photograph made from multiple shots from the middle of Beichuan after the earthquake in China's Sichuan province. (Dan Chung/ Guardian)
 
Air raid sirens and horns of vehicles, trains and ships will be sounded in grief at the end of a three-minute silence and national flags will fly at half-mast across the country and at Chinese embassies worldwide.

Beijing Olympic organisers said in a statement that the torch relay - due to reach Sichuan next month - would also be suspended for three days "to express our deep mourning to the victims of the earthquake".

The State Council announcement came as it emerged that three more people died and 1,000 were injured when a powerful aftershock hit Jiangyou city, Sichuan province, in the early hours of yesterday.

Xinhua, the state news agency, reported that the aftershock destroyed houses and damaged 230 miles of roads and six bridges.

The confirmed death toll from the quake rose to 32,476 and the council - China's cabinet - said that 220,109 were injured. Officials have said the final death toll is expected to surpass 50,000.

Rescue attempts were given impetus by the freeing of a handful of survivors.

Xinhua reported that rescuers amputated the legs of a woman to free her after six days trapped under a flattened power plant in Yingxiu town, at the quake's epicentre, while a man survived with head injuries after being pulled from a collapsed office building in Maoxian county to the northeast. A "slightly bruised" man was also saved from a collapsed hospital after 139 hours.

But teams acknowledged that few survivors were likely to be found at this stage and attention is turning to dealing with the dead. Witnesses have reported mass graves in several of the worst-hit spots, while staff at a crematorium said that all the facilities in the district had been at full stretch.

The sheer number of deaths, and the need to dispose of bodies quickly given Sichuan's hot climate, has led to many being cremated or buried before any surviving relatives can identify them. But experts are taking DNA samples and photographs, offering the bereaved some prospect of finding out what happened to their loved ones.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said it was critical that clean water and hygiene facilities were soon restored, as millions of people continued to sleep under canvas or tarpaulins across the region.

Continuing tremors have made many reluctant to return home even if their houses appear undamaged.

"Ensuring supply of food and safe drinking water and trying to restore good sanitation are critical because these are basic transmission routes for communicable diseases," said Hans Troedsson, WHO's representative in China.

WHO added that while dead bodies were distressing for survivors, they did not pose a major health risk.

"There is no public health threat from dead bodies and this misapprehension causes unnecessary diversion of staff and resources at a critical time," said Dr Arturo Pesigan, technical officer for emergency and humanitarian action in the region.

Chinese health officials have said there have not been any disease outbreaks so far and in some quake-hit areas officials and troops have set up better shelters with showers and drinking water.

In a rare public briefing in Beijing yesterday, senior officials from the People's Liberation Army (PLA) told reporters that they had responded to the disaster immediately - sending the first team to the zone within 14 minutes of the shock.

The specialist relief team included members who worked in the earthquake that hit northern Pakistan in 2005, said Major General Ma Jian of the PLA's high command.

"We feel our troops should be able to quickly respond to any danger, including carrying out diversified military operations. So, in peaceful times our troops are prepared to respond to natural disasters," he added.

He also told reporters that nuclear facilities in the quake zone were safe.

The PLA is the world's largest standing army with well over 2 million members. Up to 150,000 soldiers and paramilitary police have taken part in the relief and rescue effort.

China has also welcomed search and rescue teams from Japan, Russia, South Korea and Singapore, after initial resistance.

But yesterday a British disaster rescue charity said it had been prevented from sending a specialist team to the earthquake zone.

Julie Ryan, spokeswoman for International Rescue Corps, said 10 volunteers had flown to Hong Kong the day after the shock, in the hope that they could help.

She added that they left on Saturday after the Chinese government said it did not have the resources to manage their work.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/may/19/chinaearthquake.china1

 

China earthquake: UN chief visits disaster zone as toll reaches 60,000

The death toll from the China earthquake has reached 60,560 and could rise to 80,000 or more, the Chinese government said today.

The news came as Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general, visited the quake region.

Ban flew to Yingxiu, about 40 miles south-east of the epicentre, in Sichuan province, where he met the Chinese premier, Wen Jiabao, and promised to help with reconstruction.

"If we work hard, we can overcome this," he said. "The whole world stands behind you and supports you."

Experts were searching for 15 radiation sources buried in the rubble, and survivors were moved from possible danger areas downstream on rivers dammed by landslides.

Officials also confirmed that thousands of injured victims would be moved to neighbouring provinces as Sichuan's hospitals struggled to avoid being overwhelmed by the scale of the disaster.

Rescue workers were continuing to find survivors in the rubble.

Two more were pulled out more than 216 hours after the quake struck. A further 26,221 people were still missing in Sichuan, where the authorities said their priority was saving lives.

With the immediate emergency period over, efforts were under way to improve conditions for survivors, many of whom face years of homelessness and hospital treatment.

The health ministry said 288,000 people had been injured but only half the 59,394 who needed hospital treatment had been discharged as of May 21.

The Sichuan vice-governor, Li Chengyun, told Chinese media that 8,000 to 9,000 of the injured would soon be moved to Guangzhou, Chongqing, Nanjing, Shanghai, Kunming and Xi'an.

Orthopaedist Dr Liang Wei, of the Chengdu No 3 People's hospital, said 80% to 90% of quake patients had suffered broken bones, internal injuries or trauma.

Among them was 16-year-old Yang, who had his right leg amputated after he had climbed out of the debris of Juyuan middle school, where fewer than 300 of the 1,600 students survived.

The five million homeless will also have to move from the makeshift refugee camps and tent communities in which they are now seeking refuge.

The government still needs 900,000 tents, and is urging manufacturers to make 30,000 a day.

Concerns over three dozen lakes formed by landslides remain. With the rainy season due next month, there are fears the giant pools could flood areas below.

Hu Bing, the deputy director of the Sichuan water resources bureau, said: "If there is a strong aftershock or a strong thunderstorm, there is the danger of collapse."

 

Officials in China rush to evacuate 80,000
By AUDRA ANG, Associated Press Writer

MIANYANG, China - Chinese officials rushed Tuesday to evacuate another 80,000 people in the path of potential floodwaters building up behind a quake-spawned dam as soldiers carved a channel to try to drain away the threat.

The official Xinhua News Agency reported emergency workers would try to complete the evacuation by midnight Tuesday, taking the number of people moved out of the threatened valley to almost 160,000, from more than 30 townships.

The Tangjiashan lake in northern Sichuan province, formed when a massive landslide blocked a river, is one of dozens of fragile dams created during the earthquake that pose a new destructive threat in the disaster zone.

Soldiers hauled explosives through the mountains to reach the area, and the official Chinese Daily said Tuesday on its Web site they were "preparing to dynamite the barrier." State television showed live footage of heavy earth-moving equipment being used to carve out a 200-yard channel to drain the water.

"We are prepared to get rid of the trees by chopping and explosion. After that, the second batch of equipment will be moved in," Liu Ning, chief engineer at the Ministry of Water Resources, was quoted as saying on CCTV.

The lake is swelling behind a landslide near Beichuan, one of the towns hit hardest by the May 12 tremor that devastated Sichuan.

The number of deaths from the quake has climbed further toward an expected toll of 80,000 or more. The Cabinet said Tuesday that 67,183 people were confirmed killed — up by about 2,000 from a day earlier — and 20,790 were still missing.

Also Tuesday, health officials said higher-than-normal rates of stomach pains and fever had been reported among the millions of quake survivors, but that no major disease outbreaks had occurred.

Some 5 million people were left homeless by the quake, and many of them are living in tents or makeshift communities that are clustered throughout the disaster zone.

Qi Xiaoqiu, the director of disease prevention at the health ministry, said the quake had knocked out much of the region's health infrastructure, but 12 field hospitals had been erected and tens of thousands of health professionals were working in the zone.

"With the destruction by the quake, the living and sanitary conditions have worsened for the local population," Qi told reporters in Beijing. "Their physical conditions are weakened (and they are) more vulnerable to disease."

Diseases such as tuberculosis, hepatitis and diarrhea remained a threat, but so far no outbreaks had been reported, he said.

About 1,800 soldiers clambered up mountain paths to reach Tangjiashan with plans to dig and blast their way through the debris and drain the water, Xinhua reported. It did not say when the blasting operation would take place.

The Tangjiashan lake is one of dozens created when the magnitude 7.9 quake sent millions of tons of earth and rock tumbling into some of the region's narrow valleys. Some rising floodwaters have already swallowed villages.

Tangjiashan now holds 34 billion gallons of water and was rising by more than three feet every 24 hours, Liu said.

Xinhua said troops were working around the clock to remove at least 1.8 million cubic feet of debris to build the channel, which would not be completed before June 5.

Pressure is building behind the dams as rivers and streams feed into the newly formed lakes. Officials fear the loose soil and debris walls of the dams could crumble easily, especially once the water level reaches the top and begins cascading over.

Adding to the threat, thunderstorms were forecast for parts of Sichuan this week — a foretaste of the coming summer rainy season that accounts for more than 70 percent of the two feet of rain that falls on the area each year.

Also in northern Sichuan in Qingchuan county, 1,300 people have been evacuated from Guanzhuang because of landslide worries. Local official Li Guoping said plans were being drawn up to evacuate all 23,000 people in the area if needed.

He said landslides that blocked rivers had formed 10 lakes, but only three had the potential to be dangerous if there were heavy rains.

"I worry about the start of the rainy season," Li said.

Aftershocks have rumbled across the region since the major quake — including one Tuesday measured by the U.S. Geological Survey at magnitude 5.7 — adding to jitters among survivors and in some cases causing more damage. No damage or injuries were reported from Tuesday's tremor.

A major temblor Sunday knocked down thousands of buildings that had survived the initial quake, and killed eight people.

One quake expert said Tuesday that aftershocks in the area could continue for several months.

"Judging from previous earthquakes of a similar magnitude, this time the aftershocks may last for two or three months," He Yongnian, a former deputy director of China Seismological Bureau, was quoted as saying by Xinhua.

The aftershocks were likely to grow weaker as time passed, he said.

 

 
 

Talking Empty Heads



5/29/2008

Dear Readers;

 I received another  "conspiracy" email where a total lack of "Cosmic Consciousness" can only lead the "normal" souls to ASSUME that science has nowadays the capacity to produce earthquakes or other natural disasters. It is amazing how the regular "Joe six pack's" mind gets wild because he has made no efforts to gather spiritual information to acknowledge the Universal scheme of things creating natural disasters.

But this is a "natural" response where the young soul relies trust and believes on science (or medical doctors) not realizing that our "mental snobs" making up the core of all sciences (including NASA or the NWS) HAVE NOT YET being able to either "predict" the time or the location of an earthquake. But again "Joe six packs" doe not have enough common sense to think otherwise I guess and offer more credits where there is NONE!

China Orders Strike Against US For Catastrophic Earthquake?

Date: Thursday, 29 May 2008, 4:31 p.m.
 
 QUOTE
 
 May 30, 2008
 
 China Orders Strike Against US For Catastrophic Earthquake
 
 By: Sorcha Faal, and as reported to her Western Subscribers
 
 Russian Foreign Ministry reports are stating today the Prime Minister Putin’s ‘sudden’ diplomatic trip to France was made at the behest of China’s President Hu in order to ‘warn’ the European Union not to become involved  with the US following what is widely expected to be a ‘retaliatory strike’  against the United States, and who the Chinese military has blamed for the catastrophic May 12th earthquake that has killed nearly 90,000 human beings.
 
Chinese and Russian Military scientists, these reports say, are concurring with Canadian researcher, and former Asia-Pacific Bureau Chief of Forbes Magazine, Benjamin Fulford, who in a very disturbing video released from his Japanese offices to the American public, details how the United States attacked China by the firing of a 90 Million Volt Shockwave from the Americans High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) facilities in Alaska.
 
So powerful was this Shockwave, Britain’s Times Online News Service is reporting that the entire atmosphere over the Chinese earthquake zone became mysteriously changed 30 minutes prior to the 8.0 Magnitude Trembler  “Can clouds predict earthquakes? YouTube has footage of strange multicoloured clouds seen just before the recent earthquake struck Sichuan
 province in China.
 
The first impression is of a rainbow smeared on to small scraps of clouds, a phenomenon best known in a circumzenithal halo. This is created when sunlight shines through cirrus clouds full of tiny hexagonal ice crystals shaped like plates. The crystals behave like glass prisms, splitting the light into a bow with the colours of the spectrum, often brighter than a rainbow.
 
But one puzzle is that the colours in the Chinese clouds were upside down from a normal circumzenithal halo – red pointing towards the horizon and blue towards the Sun, instead of the other way round.”
 
Russian scientists are further speculating that the United States strike against China was ‘exactly timed’ to coincide with the dangerous experiments ongoing at Large Hadron Collider for the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), and which we had previously reported on in our May 13th report titled “CERN ‘Nailed Heart Of Earth’ With China Quake, Chilean Volcano”.
 
Russian Military Analysts note that though China’s Military has ordered is vast submarine fleet to ‘disperse’ throughout the Pacific Ocean, the Chinese ‘attack’ against the United States would, most likely, take a form of
economic warfare instead of an actual clashing of forces.
 
More disturbing, however, in these reports is China’s urging of both Syria and Turkey not to allow more water into mighty rivers of the Euphrates and Tigris, which the Iraqis are warning are running dry due to the severe
drought in that war-torn Nation.
 
 The importance of this latest move by China is the newly signed Defense Pact signed between Iran and Syria which would allow Chinese Military Forces permission to use Iranian territory to come to the aid of Syria.
 
It should be further noted that the Christian Bibles New Testament Book of Revelations (Chapter 16, Verse 12) prophesied that the Euphrates will dry up in preparation for the Battle of Armageddon and would be crossed by an
Eastern Army of 200 million soldiers, of which in our World today only China is able to field and have the ability to reach by land alone.
 
As the United States and China battle for their very survival in a World becoming increasing volatile due to the rapidly growing shortages of both food and fuel, one does indeed wonder if the End Times are now upon us all.
 
[link to HYPERLINK " http://www.whatdoesitmean.com

 

Earthquake death toll rises to 69,016

(Xinhua)
Updated: 2008-06-01 16:58
 
BEIJING - The death toll in China's major earthquake rose to 69,016 as of noontime Sunday, a report from the Information Office of the State Council said.

A total of 368,545 people were injured and 18,830 others were still missing in the 8.0-magnitude quake that jolted southwestern Sichuan Province on May 12.

A total of 45.55 million people were affected by quake, of whom 15.15 million were relocated, according to the office.

Hospitals had treated 89,818 injured survivors as of Saturday noon, of whom 59,877 were discharged, 12,797 were still being treated and 9,245 were transferred outside of Sichuan for further treatment.

As of Saturday noon, domestic and foreign donations stood at 40.1 billion yuan (about US$ 5.8 billion) and 10.78 billion yuan in cash and goods were forwarded to the disaster area, the office said.

Government disaster relief funds hit 22.57 billion yuan including18.29 billion yuan from the central government and 4.28 billion yuan from local governments, according to the Ministry of Finance.

Relief supplies including 678,900 tents, 4.37 million cotton-padded quilts, 10.7 million garments, 590,000 tonnes of fuel oil and 1.2 million tonnes of coal were sent to the quake-hit areas.

As of Friday, rescuers had found and evacuated 782,004 people, of whom 6,541 were dug out from under debris.

Also, 4,900 temporary shelters were set up in quake areas and 6,700 temporary shelters were being erected and 29,900 were being shipped to the quake regions.

In the 24 hours ending Saturday noon, 215 aftershocks were monitored in southwest China's quake zone, according to the China Seismological Bureau.

No aftershocks above 4.0 on the Richter scale were detected and all the 215 aftershocks were measured below 3.9, the office said, adding that 9,519 aftershocks had been monitored since May 12 when the major quake struck.


Nuclear Explosion Occurs Near Epicenter of the Sichuan Earthquake
By Wu Weilin Epoch Times Staff
Jun 03, 2008
 
A woman whose child was killed when the Xinjian primary school collapsed in the May 12 earthquake, is comforted by a relative as she is overcome by grief during a commemoration of Children's Day on the rubble-strewn school campus on June 1, 2008 in Dujiangyan, Sichuan province, China. (Andrew Wong/Getty Images)

Boxun News, a Chinese-language Web site based outside China, reported that an unnamed expert has claimed that there was a nuclear explosion near the epicenter of the Sichuan earthquake, based on witness reports and the discovery of concrete rubble believed to have come from an underground military installation. The news of this nuclear explosion has raised questions about the cause of the earthquake.

Mr. He, a local resident, stated that when the earthquake occurred on May 12, people saw something erupt from the top of a mountain next to the valley, "It looked like toothpaste being squeezed out," said He. "No, it wasn't [magma]. It was these concrete pieces. The eruption lasted about three minutes." According to a China News Services (CNS) report on May 31, 2008, paramedics from People's Liberation Army (PLA) hospitals and psychologists from
Beijing onsite May 23 found concrete debris at the bottom of a valley near the epicenter. The half-mile-wide valley was covered with debris 10 - 20 inches thick, covering the valley floor for almost 1.5 miles.

No major construction was occurring in the area at the time of the earthquake.

The thickness of the concrete pieces seemed to match that used in China's underground military bases, according to Boxun's expert. He explained that while there are documented cases that earthquakes cause volcanic eruptions, there are no accounts of eruptions ejecting concrete.

Based on the CNS report and timing of the eruption at the scene, there seemed to be no evidence of natural volcanic activity. The expert stated he was certain a nuclear explosion shattered the underground concrete structures, hurling debris into the air.

At least one of China's nuclear military bases is located in Mianyang City, Sichuan, near the epicenter.

Chinese Internet surfers commented explosion was not confined to the underground test area and has caused radiation contamination, stating that in a call to Beijing he recommended authorities accept help from other countries, seal the area, find and provide help to those who had been exposed to contamination during the rescue work, and take emergency measures to prevent water contamination.

The expert believes that the nuclear explosion caused the recent 8.0 magnitude Sichuan earthquake in China. However, other experts referenced by Boxun withheld judgment as to whether the explosion caused the earthquake or the earthquake the explosion.

Click here to read the original article in Chinese

Related Articles - Strong Aftershock Causes More Misery in China Sunday, May 25, 2008  
 

China Allocates $27 Million to Deal with Dangerous 'Quake Lakes'

By VOA News
28 May 2008

China is focusing resources on swelling lakes formed during this month's devastating earthquake, evacuating tens of thousands of people and mobilizing millions of dollars to prevent massive flooding.

Heavy rains are expected in the coming days, raising concerns that a naturally formed dam in quake-struck Sichuan province could give way before workers are able to drain water from a huge lake.

Rescue workers have evacuated more than 150,000 people living below the lake.

China has allocated about $27 million to handle the so-called quake-lakes, which were formed when landslides blocked rivers following the massive May 12 earthquake.

China's official Xinhua news agency reports Wednesday that the Ministry of Finance will use money from the central budget to try to avert another disaster in Sichuan province.

Xinhua says the earthquake created 34 lakes, and that 28 of them could still rupture and flood.

China announced today the death toll from the earthquake has passed 68,000 people. Nearly 20,000 are missing.

Japanese media report today that China has asked Japan to send its military to help with rescue operations. If confirmed, it would be the first time Japan's military has been deployed to China since the end of World War II.

Chinese and Japanese officials have not commented on the reports.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

China begins to drain quake lake

 

The Tangjiashan lake was created by after a landslide of mud and rocks blocked a river [AFP]

China has begun to drain a lake formed after last month's earthquake in China's Sichuan province in an attempt to reduce the risks of a catastrophic flood.

A sluice channel was opened by Chinese workers on Saturday after heavy rains raised fears that natural dam caused by a landslide would collapse.

A senior Chinese military official told the state-run Xinhua news agency that the dam across the Tongku river was in no imminent danger of giving way after the work.

"The dam is in no danger of collapse in the foreseeable period," Fan Xiaoguang said. Rao Xiping, head of the government's hydrometeorological station in Beichuan, one of the areas worst-hit by the earthquake, also said that the dam was safe for the immediate future but that water levels were continuing to climb.

However, Rao told Xinhua that the water flow through the sluice would need to more than double in order to satisfactorily drain the lake.

Lives under threat

Fears that the Tangjiashan lake would burst drove authorities to move more than 250,000 people as they hurried to build the diversion channel.
 
David Hawkins, Al Jazeera's correspondent in China, said that 1.3 million more people could be forced to leave the region in the coming months.
 
In depth: China quake

Video: Parents anger over collapsed schools

Map: Quake disaster zone

Pictures: Devastation

The potential collapse of the lake threatened to flood an area that is home to more than one million people and compound the misery in an area still reeling from the magnitude 7.9 quake on May 12 that killed at least 70,000 people.
 
Some people displaced by the earthquake have moved several times as the floods threatened those in refugee camps in central Sichuan province.
 
"I can't even cry, even if I want to. First, it was the earthquake, now it's floods," said Yu Taichun, a doctor who keeps watch over a small medical centre in a tent city of at least 2,500 people.
 
Yu said he has moved five times since the quake, arriving two weeks ago at the latest camp overlooking the town of Qinglian, about 30km downstream from Tanghiashan lake.
 
Zhen Yiyuan, 61, an evacuee camped in a hillside park, said his sister living in the destroyed mountain village of Yuli had it far worse, surviving only on salvaged corn and other crops after a few pounds of rice airdropped after the quake ran out.
 
Baby hope
 
The provincial government estimates that about 7,000 of the victims were children.
 
In Video
 
Chinese earthquake affects Indian silk industry 

The national population and family planning commission has said it plans to send a medical team to the devastated area to help parents that have lost their only child.

 
China's family planning policies restrict most couples to one child, although rules allow for another baby if their child was killed, severely injured or disabled.

The medics will reverse sterilisation operations on couples that want to have another child.
 
"The team, comprised of experts of childbearing, will conduct surgery in the quake-hit areas to provide technological support for those wanting to give birth to another child," Zhang Shikun, a senior official with China's family planning commission, said.
 
Chinese authorities have also recorded 4,700 unclaimed children whose parents presumably died in the quake.
 
Zhang Shifeng, the civil affairs ministry official, said the final number of orphans was expected to be about 1,000 to 2,000, as children were gradually are being handed over to members of their extended families.
 
CHINA -

8-5-08

Two aftershocks today hit the southwestern Chinese province of Sichuan, the site of May's devastating earthquake, with the second felt strongly in the provincial capital Chengdu.

 
After the 7.9-magnitude earthquake hit Sichuan on May 12, more than 69,200 people were confirmed dead and some 18,000 are still listed as missing.
 
The second aftershock today occurred at 16:32 local time (9:32 a.m. British time) and lasted for a "relatively long" time. It was measured at 5.8 on the Richter scale and the epicentre was on the border of Pingwu and Beichuan counties, both of which were devastated by the May 12 quake.
 
The first aftershock struck Wenchuan county, the epicentre of the May 12 disaster, about six hours earlier and was measured at 3.9 on the Richter scale.
 
At least three powerful aftershocks hit the Sichuan quake area on July 24, killing two people and injuring dozens. The Olympic torch relay for the August 8-24 Beijing Olympics is expected to take place in Sichuan from August 3-5.

 

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