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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Natural Disasters: China Update

The latest information on the earthquake that devastated Sichuan province in China is available here.

The Chinese government has cut its national budget in several areas to ensure that victims of the earthquake will have the aid they need to reconstruct their homes and lives. Currently, they have set aside $13 billion in funds for that purpose.

They are also appealing to the world for tents and other temporary housing assistance to shelter the 5.2 million survivors of the earthquake.
The housing ministry Thursday ordered the construction of one million small homes by August 10 made of light steel, plywood and other materials that are both safe in earthquakes and "recyclable." The houses are supposed to last up to five years.
Well, mud in your eye, America. We still haven't rehoused those displaced by Hurricane Katrina. NOLA's survivors wander the nation, displaced, three years later, often unable to meet voter ID requirements because their records disappeared in that terrible event.

And "recyclable," too. What has happened to this great nation? How far have we fallen that China, until very recently an extremely poor nation with nowhere near our educational levels, our healthcare, our robust economy, our military might, our first-rate infrastructure, can take care of a whole devastated province better and faster than we can take care of one city?

Heckuva job, Georgie. The Chinese government is also taking steps to assist the displaced and traumatized population in many different ways, at every level:
At a sports stadium in Mianyang where thousands of homeless are living, more than 1,000 children attended classes in hastily erected tents, reflecting government efforts to restore some semblance of normality.

"Many of the children don't know each other but that's OK. Kids of that age make friends really fast," said geography teacher Chen Qian, 27, as the children stood up to sing the national anthem together.

The health ministry said it had started sending thousands of the most seriously injured people by trains and planes to other parts of China from the overwhelmed hospitals in Sichuan.

Authorities also sent out the first team specialised in treating disabilities, which are expected to afflict many of the 288,431 injured people.

In a bid to cheer up survivors, organisers announced that they would bring the Beijing Olympic torch through Sichuan from August 3 to 5, making it the final stop before the Games open on August 8.
Wow. You think maybe the Chinese government cares for its people? You think maybe Kanye West was right, when he said George Bush doesn't give a damn about Black people?

For a list of organizations to which you can donate, click here.

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