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China earthquake

May 13, 2008

SichuanchinaThe latest wire reports put the death toll from the massive earthquake that jolted the south-central province of Sichuan yesterday at more than 12,000, with at least 26,000 people injured and over 18,000 people still buried in debris in the city of Mianyang, near the epicenter of the 7.9-magnitude quake. (Image courtesy of TravelChinaGuide.com)

According to the Associated Press, the number of casualties "was expected to rise due to the remoteness of the areas affected and difficulty in finding buried victims." (Sichuan is one of the larger and more inaccessible provinces in the country.) Heavy rain is further complicating rescue efforts.

Unlike the cynical, disorganized response of the military junta in Myanmar to the worsening humanitarian crisis in that country (see below), or the U.S. government's response to Hurricane Katrina, Chinese government officials have committed the full resources of the state to the rescue effort. The AP reports that some 20,000 soldiers and police are already on the scene, with another 30,000 on the way by plane, train, truck, and on foot.

Over at the Getting Attention! blog, our friend Nancy Schwartz reminds us that, as tapped out as we may feel in these recessionary times, the good people of Sichuan (like the good people of Burma) need our help as they struggle to deal with the loss of loved ones and livelihoods and try to rebuild their shattered lives.

-- Mitch Nauffts

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  • "[L]et me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is...fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance...."

    — Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd president of the United States

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