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August 2, 2011

China Still Not Safe From Death And Destruction

Just as China is beginning to cope with the loss of life and property, another strong aftershock hit the province of Sichuan. The aftershock was 5.8 magnitude and destroyed a reported 70,000 homes, injured 400 and killed at least one person. This comes on the heels of the terrible earthquake that rocked the province on May12 and has sent aftershocks throughout the region every since.

As the death toll goes over the 60,000 mark new fears arise. In assess the damage the Water Ministry of China has locate 69 dams that are unstable, meaning that flooding is a major concern. More people could die if these dams break. Over course fixing the dams is challenging for a number of reasons. One being that the aftershocks continue to come and the other reason is because there are millions of people that are homeless and need care. This seems to be the major preoccupation of the government right now.

What can be done to get people out of the paths of these dams? Is it possible to move all of the homeless masses to a safe spot? This, if it is possible would be a painstaking task. People have already lost everything that they own and some of their loved ones. Moving them to other parts of the country will take a great deal of time and may further put people into shock.

It is sad to say that the death toll is till rising but another positive, hopeful story did emerge from Sichuan province. An 80 year old paraplegic who had been trapped for 11 days was rescued after suffering 266 hours of being trapped. Apparently the beams of the man’s house fell and he was trapped. His wife was able to feed him while they waited for help.

The government believes that 45 million people were affected in some way by the earthquake. With aftershocks still hitting the region there is a growing concern that there may be more death and destruction. It seems that there is no safe place in Sichuan province right now. The homeless masses have no place to go and nowhere that is safe. The ground could shake at any moment and bring more rubble down on their heads. It must be a terrifying situation to be in. The need to rebuild can not be met until the after shocks stop and since they are still going on, it is hard to gauge how much longer the province will be receiving those terrifying jolts.

This seems to be a very extreme earthquake. I know that predicting earthquakes is nearly impossible but I am wondering why this particular earthquake has been so terrible. It will be interesting to hear what geologist and other scientist have to say about this quake and the abundance of aftershocks and the strength of which they have rattled the ground. Of course before any of these questions can be answered, the ground must stop shaking. Hopefully the ground underneath Sichuan province has stopped moving for good now.

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