Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Chengdu Residents Stand in Line for Blood Donation

In the wake of the strong earthquake that killed at least 8000 people, Chengdu residents stood in line overnight to donate blood to save their country folks. Chengdu, the capital city of Sichuan province, also suffered damage and life losses from the earthquake although being 92 kilometers away from the center of disaster. Chengdu government advised residents to live in outdoor tents in the next month.

It was circulated on the Net that the historic city of Beichuan was buried by collapsed mountain entirely. Communication to Beichuan had been completely broken so casualties there had not been counted. If true, then I don't know what to say.

Military forces were promptly mobilized to rush to the area that suffered the most damage. Sichuan is notorious for its challenging roads, which had isolated it from the rest of the China in many incidents in history. Attempts to reach the area by helicopters had not been successful due to heavy rain. Elite troops were parachuted to disaster areas to set up communications. Frustrated by broken roads, one troop (First Division of Sichuan Armed Police) was reported having marched more than 30 kilometers in 4 hours on foot to save critical time. 24,000 troops were air lifted from bases across the country along with many specialized rescue teams.

School buildings were among the most in reported building damages. One of the worst scene was a collapsed school building with hundreds of children confirmed killed, and many more still buried under rubbles. The scene raised the concern of the quality of the newly erected school building. Even though it happened in the obvious earthquake, the actual cause of the failure of the building should be investigated after completing the search and rescue tasks. Too many young life perished. They deserve a truth.

Hundreds of thousands of toads were seen migrating two days before the earthquake struke Aba, a rural county close to the center of this earthquake. Many local people thought earthquake was going to happen based on ancient wisdom. Regrettably, the theory was disputed as rumor by the regional earthquake bureau. However, there is no known scientific way that can reliably predict or forecast an earthquake. An exception is the Haicheng Earthquake in 1975 which was successfully predicted mostly by observing abnormal animal behavior similar to the toads migration.

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