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July 26, 2011

A New Disaster Threatens China`s Earthquake Ravaged Region

After days of recovering bodies from the rubble of an earthquake and realizing that entire towns have been destroyed, there is now a new danger threatening Beichuan county. There is a fear that flooding will be the next phase of terror to strike the region. During the earthquake mudslides blocked off the Qingzhu River, creating two large pools of water. Officials are very concerned about the 30,000 people that live downriver and have told many of them to seek higher ground.

The two lakes that were created are about 1.5 million cubic meters and 11 million cubic meters. If they should flood the region there will be no hope for many of the residents that live in that area. The government is considering creating holes with explosives to allow the water to flow out in a less dramatic fashion. If the mudslide releases one or both of the pools of water a second tragedy will befall China in less than a week.

There are only so many different places for people to live on the planet. Humans living in the line of potential disaster is common around the globe. The threat of danger is typically only noticeable when the danger is on the verge of happening. Most people that live on fault lines or near volcanoes do not wonder when the disaster is going to strike. It is in our nature to take such phenomenon for granted. Occasionally it can feel like we are in control of the earth but then the planet gives us a harsh reminder. We are truly at the mercy of the earth.

Recovering from the quake has not even begun and now there is another fierce force of nature to worry about. I don’t know if there was time to give warning about the earthquake or if that would have made a difference but now that the threat of flooding is in order, hopefully everyone that need to be evacuated is swiftly leaving the scene.

Of course leaving the scene could mean leaving behind survivors. Although it is unlikely that there are still survivors to be found, stranger things have happened. That must make evacuating the area twice as hard.

There are still shimmers of hope in the wake of all the sadness. Two more survivors were dug out from underneath collapsed buildings Saturday morning. That means that there could be more survivors clinging to life, waiting for someone to stick their hand through the concrete and pull them up. Hopefully the rescue workers will get there in time.

China will need many years to recover form a quake of this magnitude. In the aftermath I hope that whatever went wrong with the building of the schools where all of those children died is fixed. Hopefully the government and the builders will never let that happen again. I feel so helpless here on the other side of the world. I guess all we can do is hope for the best and offer any monetary assistance that we can.

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