World: Natural Disasters Part II
The Xinhua News Agency is reporting that the death toll from the recent earthquake in Sichuan province has now passed 22,000. The Chinese government believes the final death toll could be as high as 50,000. 40,000 people are still buried in the rubble of the quake.
The ever-efficient Chinese government has dispatched 110,000 soldiers to aid in the relief efforts and to plug cracks in the Zipingku dam, north of Sichuan's provincial capital of Chengdu. The Chinese Defense Ministry has dispatched 101 helicopters to assist in rescuing the buried and injured. The helicopters will also airlift residents of the devastated areas to safety, as the roads in and out of much of the province are blocked by landslides.
Chinese authorities believe some 400 dams in Sichuan province have been affected by the earthquake, and some are showing cracks up to four inches across, although, thanks to the swift reaction, currently they are stable. To thwart the vermin who profit from every crisis, the Chinese government has also imposed temporary price caps on supplies in quake areas and is moving quickly to punish those who attempt to fleece the quake victims.
The Chinese Ministry of Finance has earmarked 3.4 billion YuanRMB (~500 million USD) for disaster relief in the stricken areas.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao flew to the scene to direct rescue efforts shortly after the quake struck:
Mr. Wen, who flew in from Beijing soon after the scale of the disaster became apparent, has been photographed and televised repeatedly handing down orders to rescue workers and shouting encouragement to victims. His display of concern, and its swift reporting by the official media, was in marked contrast to the secretive way the Communist Party has handled emergencies in the past.Would that Preznitwit DisasterMonkey could have been bothered to do anything but fly in for a photo-op when New Orleans drowned!
President Hu Jintao has also personally flown to the area to assure victims of the quake that their Government will take care of them. China has also permitted foreign aid agencies and rescuers entry to assist in the rescue mission. Aunty Beeb informs us:
Thirty-one Japanese experts arrived on Friday morning, state media said, and a second team with sniffer dogs was due there later in the day.Some five million people have been left homeless by the quake.
Taiwan, Russia, South Korea and Singapore are also sending teams to help in the rescue effort.
Ms. Manitoba requests that we include the information that follows:
China: Premier Wen Jiabao flew there the same day!!! He was actually on the ground right where people are &mdash buried under rubble &mdash not flying over in his pristine jet. Remember Dubya and New Orleans? Oh, it makes me spit I'm so mad. If I outlive Dubya, I would spend money to travel and dance on his grave.
I want to help the folks in Myanmar ... but I don't trust the military there to actually get food, cooking utensils, etc. to the folks that really need it. What do you think? I feel so badly for the people there. I heard on the radio that they are approximating now: 125,000 casulties in Myanmar. Shocking!
However, I feel differently about China. Yes, yes ... communists and all that. I've know communists in my day ... yes, they can be obnoxious (and heaven knows, I have quite a talent in that area meself) ... but I would have helped them out in a pinch. What the people in China's Sichuan province are feeling is a huge crush and crash. I feel that if I donate $$, they will get it. But I do know you have to be careful where you donate. I don't really trust the Red Cross ... too much administrative overhead. Has that changed? Does anyone know?
"I don't want to help a communist country." Gee, I really hope other people in the world don't feel that way about us: "Hey, the U.S. is a big cruel bully why should we help them?" Separation of government from the people ... let's try it.
This website has good info about what's going on in Sichuan province:
The photo gallery is very worthwhile ... but very upsetting. Many schools are completely destroyed ... children are buried under the rubble.
Okay ... this has been plaguing me ... what's a good place to donate? The local paper had an article about local folks who have family in Sichuan province and how they are organizing so that they can send money directly there.
From today's paper, a list of organizations you can contact to make donations to help the earthquake victims:
- Northern Californian Sichuan Folks Association: (408) 238-3614
- Sing Tao News, 625 Kearny St., San Francisco, 94108; (415) 989-7111
- Shin Shin Educational Foundation
- Save the Children
The Sichuan Earthquake Relief Fund
c/o Conestoga Bank
1032 Arch Street
Phila, PA 19107
or send a check to
American Red Cross International Response Fund
PO Box 37243
Washington, DC 20013
(specify donation is for the China Earthquake)
or contact the Red Cross at 1-800-RED-CROSS
or visit www.redcross.org
For those who may have relatives in the area, this site run by Watson Meng, provides up-to-the-minute information. Click English if your Chinese is bu tai hao.
TPC sez: Contrast the swift action of the Chinese government to the actions of the Burmese government. The military junta with its boot on the neck of the Burmese people is now rounding up homeless survivors of Cyclone Nargis for use as forced labour, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. The junta also refuses to allow foreign NGOs or rescue workers into the country to assist the suffering people.
CBC reports that 78,000 people have died and 56,000 are missing, although the Red Cross estimates that over 100,000 have died. There are reports that the Burmese military is diverting food and supplies meant for the stricken dwellers in the Irawaddy delta for its own use. This would not surprise us, as the people who have suffered most from the cyclone belong to the poor, rural peasant class and the ethnic Shan minority.
The U.S. Campaign for Burma is encouraging those who want to help to donate here. But if the military can so easily divert food, why should they have difficulty diverting funds?
Do you think a military intervention is called for? Stumble It!