Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Update: China's Crushing Calamity

The state run news agency Xinhua reported that the death toll in the massive earthquake in Sichuan province has surpassed the 12,000 initial estimate. In Yingxiu town alone, 7,700 or three quarters of the towns population were confirmed killed during the earthquake. To date, more than 2,000 aftershocks have been recorded, some as strong as 4 to 5.3 magnitude sending residents scampering to the streets.

The aftershocks have caused panic and terror among the population who refuse to seek shelter in the buildings for fear of being trapped. People have gathered around open spaces and have set up tent communities despite the inclement weather. The rescue efforts are being disrupted by the aftershocks and pose great risks to
those still alive and trapped beneath concrete rubble. Continuous rain has aggravated the difficulties as the water could loosen the shaky stability of the diggings.

Rescue workers have taken great risks crawling underneath crumbling walls to reach out to voices crying for help. Bodies of children bring wails of grief t
o parents and relatives. Despite the swarm of soldiers in all sites throughout the entire province, and the organized operations that have been put in place using mechanized equipment; the sheer size of the destruction and the undetermined thousands buried beneath rubble spread in many towns and counties in this vast province is numbing. A feeling of helplessness in the race against time persists. So many children, workers, elderly, and residents have yet to be rescued. With every lifeless body pulled out, hope diminishes for those still buried. Suffering and grief mount for those waiting, confounded by the tragedy and confused between seeing a loved one alive, or at least recovering remains.

Roads leading to the province and the epicenter are dangerous. Paratroopers have been used to immediately assist far flung areas unreachable by land and cut off by collapsed bridges. China's response has been exemplary and its transparency has gained the admiration of the international community. Its citizens are lining up to donate blood, but those in Sichuan province are too tired, and many have blood pressures shooting up, that their donations have to be rescheduled.

It will take some time before those directly affected by this calamity can find closure. Even then, the memory of this horror and its magnitude will continue to haunt them.



Kim said...

this is horrifying Durano..
I haven't listened to the news today and this is the first I've heard of this terrible disaster...

earthquakes are such terrible disasters...I know I still haven't forgotten the Newcastle earthquake here in 1989...
and it is no where near the scale of this one in China..
dear oh dear...I hope that those still trapped and injured are rescued..

my prayers will be for the victims and survivors...

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hello Kim,

It's the vast expanse and population density that's awesome, which has made rescue operations such a gigantic effort.

We were denied visas in Myanmar outright, but China requested understanding, and I totally see the point. Roads are in disrepair, bridges have collapsed, and dangers due to aftershocks that are earthquakes of intensity 5 and over could put foreigners in peril.Plus, the weather that loosens the soil and moving the fallen concrete slabs which could endanger both rescuer and victim.

There is slim hope of saving all those trapped. Some of the missing have been found dead, and they haven't counted them yet. We get updates from contacts inside the rescue teams every 3 0r 4 hours. This is part of the network we were able to develop over the years.

Prayers are needed, not only to help those who are rescued, and for the peace of those who perished; but for those who have survived and will live through this tragedy for the rest of their lives.

Thanks for dropping by and seeing your warm smile on my site. :-) --Durano, done!

Zhu said...

This is so sad. I can't even realize how big the numbers are... I mean, 15,000+ dead? That's so many people!

I heard they still found some people stuck under buildings yesterday, I hope to hear more of that soon.

China has had more than its fair share of natural disasters...

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Hi Zhu,

It is a very sad event. Considering that parents of the one-child per family policy are caught in this tragedy.

They have but one child lost to the earthquake and it just tears them apart seeing the body twisted with a facial expression of death in pain. These are the reports we received.

All over Sichuan, the story is the same in all schools. I feel so sorry for their loss. :-( --Durano, done!