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2008 Sichuan Earthquake
May 12, 2008 7:23 AM   Subscribe

Newsfilter: Magnitude 7.8 earthquake hits China.
posted by b1tr0t (63 comments total)

 
Up to 5000 dead (so far) via CNN
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:39 AM on May 12, 2008


I heard that on my dinky local radio station this morning.

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posted by sandraregina at 7:41 AM on May 12, 2008


USGS data.

and

.
posted by b1tr0t at 7:42 AM on May 12, 2008


We've had a few here in Japan lately nowhere near the severity of this one and those have made a few people stop and think.

What these poor people must be dealing with right now - it's horrible.
posted by gomichild at 7:49 AM on May 12, 2008


This Shanghaiist article has the best updates so far.
posted by klue at 7:50 AM on May 12, 2008


First I'd heard.. terrible.

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posted by crunch buttsteak at 8:01 AM on May 12, 2008


Newsfilter: Magnitude 7.8 earthquake hits China.

Chinese officials blame that "monster with a human face" Mother Nature and her "splittist clique" for trying to divide China.

General Tsu Head Geologist for the Ruling Communist Party declared, "We do not recognize this fault line, it does not exist. This terriroty is inseparably part of China."

China has repeatedly threatened to use military power against the fault line if it declares independence and has staged a series of naval exercises to show that it means business.
posted by three blind mice at 8:09 AM on May 12, 2008 [5 favorites]


Right, never mind 5000. It will be in the tens of thousands, if not worse. These early estimates are being made in the dark. 80 percent of structures are damaged in some areas, and tens of millions live in the quake zone.

First Burma, now this, bad week.
posted by fourcheesemac at 8:11 AM on May 12, 2008


Ironincally I was listening to Friday's "On Point with Tom Ashbrook" on my way to work this morning. During their Week in the News show there was some discussion of what role China could play in relief to Burma, given they are right next door. It's troubling that not only will that assistance probably not happen, but problems have compounded for another large population in the same neighborhood.
posted by MarvinTheCat at 8:20 AM on May 12, 2008


I'm glad it missed the Three Gorges dam - it is built to withstand a 7.0 magnitude quake and has 15 million people living below it.
posted by rongorongo at 8:30 AM on May 12, 2008


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posted by monocot at 8:41 AM on May 12, 2008


Holy shit, this is terrible. First the cyclone and now this. Damn.
posted by homunculus at 9:26 AM on May 12, 2008


I'm not sure why, but I think I find that this is being tracked and updated on Wiki, as it happens, to be even more creepy.

Don't get me wrong, I'm sure it's a brilliant idea, but it's just weird to use something I think of as a historical resource for something going on right now.
posted by quin at 9:39 AM on May 12, 2008


Don't get me wrong, I'm sure it's a brilliant idea, but it's just weird to use something I think of as a historical resource for something going on right now.

Why do you think of it as a historical resource? They always update articles on breaking news in real time.
posted by delmoi at 9:42 AM on May 12, 2008


There's a first person perspective video on YouTube, and as someone that's emigrating from the UK to Southern California, it makes me question why the hell I am leaving this nice safe country of mine. According to the boyfriend, 1 minute of earthquake is unusual. I know it terrifies me.
posted by saturnine at 9:54 AM on May 12, 2008


Mainly because I use it as an alternative to an encyclopedia. I rarely think of it as a source of breaking news reporting, though as I said, I'm sure it's a brilliant central point repository for that kind of thing.

Just not where I would have thought to go first.

The thing about distant earthquakes that I hate is that you know the initial casualty are going to be horribly wrong. Because those people are trapped and injured right now. And as I type this, someone, somewhere is running out of air.

The very image fills me with unease and discomfort.
posted by quin at 9:54 AM on May 12, 2008


Chinese officials blame that "monster with a human face" Mother Nature and her "splittist clique" for trying to divide China.

General Tsu Head Geologist for the Ruling Communist Party declared, "We do not recognize this fault line, it does not exist. This terriroty is inseparably part of China."

China has repeatedly threatened to use military power against the fault line if it declares independence and has staged a series of naval exercises to show that it means business.


Yes, because the Chinese government caused the earthquake and the death of thousands. Grow up guys.
posted by reformedjerk at 9:54 AM on May 12, 2008


Awful.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:01 AM on May 12, 2008


> Yes, because the Chinese government caused the earthquake and the death of thousands. Grow up guys.

Yeah, you completely misunderstood that joke.
posted by sdodd at 10:38 AM on May 12, 2008


Phew. Missed my family in .cn to the east and north-east. But the toll is at 8,500 people and climbing. Oh, man. And lots more are hurt.
posted by illiad at 10:39 AM on May 12, 2008


and as someone that's emigrating from the UK to Southern California, it makes me question why the hell I am leaving this nice safe country of mine. According to the boyfriend, 1 minute of earthquake is unusual. I know it terrifies me.

I wouldn't worry as much. The building codes in California are very, very good. Remember the earthquake in Bam, Iran? It was magnitude 6.6 and killed 56,230 people.

An earthquake of similar magnitude had hit southern California and killed only 3 people when an old campus clock tower fell.

The dangerous places are the places where earthquakes are rare, not where they are common. At least in the US.
posted by delmoi at 10:40 AM on May 12, 2008


Yeah, you completely misunderstood that joke.

What is the joke? That an earthquake is just like the Tibetan independence movement, totally natural and uncontrollable, and that it makes no sense for the Chinese government to oppose it, the same way it would be foolish to oppose and earthquake?
posted by delmoi at 10:42 AM on May 12, 2008


Something along the lines of the Chinese government being notorius for spinning a story and providing false information to keep the populace from knowing what is really going on.
posted by Big_B at 11:03 AM on May 12, 2008


Earth quake video.
posted by msaleem at 11:20 AM on May 12, 2008


I have a weird background fear that the Three Gorges Dam will be destroyed by an earthquake one of these days, ten million people will die, and thereby instigate all manner of nasty consequences for the entire planet.

...all these pictures of cracked apartment towers and heaps of concrete rubble are really not helping matters any.
posted by aramaic at 11:24 AM on May 12, 2008


Very near, Emily lives in Santai.

Not as near, Jessamyn lives in Chongqing.

Keep cracking jokes, assholes. This is a tragedy.
posted by geekyguy at 11:35 AM on May 12, 2008


I watched the Youtube video, and that was a VERY long earthquake! Interestingly, it seemed that their electricity stayed on throughout the entire thing. I can only imagine how frightening it must have been. I'm so grateful the dam held. The 900 students trapped under the school is a terrible thing.

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posted by The Light Fantastic at 11:39 AM on May 12, 2008


Something along the lines of the Chineseevery government being notorius[sic] for spinning a story and providing false information to keep the populace from knowing what is really going on.
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:41 AM on May 12, 2008


Chinese officials blame that "monster with a human face" Mother Nature and her "splittist clique" for trying to divide China.

General Tsu Head Geologist for the Ruling Communist Party declared, "We do not recognize this fault line, it does not exist. This terriroty is inseparably part of China."

China has repeatedly threatened to use military power against the fault line if it declares independence and has staged a series of naval exercises to show that it means business.


Call me sensitive, but I think that having your first response to a natural disaster that has so far killed more than 5000 people be a joke about the Chinese government is a bit over the pale. I get the joke, but I don't think it's very funny.
posted by peacheater at 11:54 AM on May 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


One of my coworkers has been raving about Jack Van Impe and how we all need to be aware of the approaching end-times since she heard about this.

I love Christians.
posted by TrinaSelwyn at 11:55 AM on May 12, 2008


Dang. One of my best friends and his wife are in Chengdu. I've been updating his blog for him, since Wordpress.com is blocked by the Chinese government.

I'm trying to find out if he's OK but no word yet. He was looking forward to coming home in a month.
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 12:03 PM on May 12, 2008


Quin:
Mainly because I use it as an alternative to an encyclopedia. I rarely think of it as a source of breaking news reporting, though as I said, I'm sure it's a brilliant central point repository for that kind of thing.
Just not where I would have thought to go first.


From the Wiki (see "casualties"):
According to a geophysicist with the United States Geological Survey, an earthquake of this magnitude is "very dangerous" and can cause major damage.

REALLY?! I had no idea. Who decided that sentences like this add to an article?

Don't get me wrong, I'd love to see a collaborative news service doing news in the same manner as Wikipedia does knowledge in general. For the moment, however, maybe Wiki pages aren't where we should be going for our news.
posted by Avelwood at 12:10 PM on May 12, 2008


Not that there is any indication yet that they are going to require international aid, but this is the sort of thing that Doctors Without Borders usually gets involved in. They are currently being allowed into Myanmar to help out there and, based on their track record, will probably be in Sichuan Province as soon as they're allowed.

As I said, it may be too early to assume that a donation to Doctors Without Borders will be able to be earmarked for aid in China, but it would certainly help with the situation in Myanmar and will probably help them respond to this current tragedy as well.

Anyhow, if anyone has other specific ideas of how we can help support rescue and recovery efforts, I'd ask you to share them at this time. Thank you!
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:52 PM on May 12, 2008


Yeah, the joke upthread is not terribly clever or funny... actually it's kinda juvenile.
posted by every_one_needs_a_hug_sometimes at 2:22 PM on May 12, 2008


The Light Fantastic writes "The 900 students trapped under the school is a terrible thing."

Is it just me or public buildings ( built by some private contractor, most likely) tend to fail ? Similarly at least one hospital, as my memory serves, collapsed during one the Mexico City great quakes. Similarly in Italy 27 childrens died in the collapse of a Jovine school in a 7.8 scale quake in year 2002 ; the first degree judge acquitted six person who allegedly failed at noticing that the structure was rather old and could not have safely stanted the additional works that were nonetheless implemented. Afaik, but I don't have the text of the sentece, the judge ruled that these person didn't commit any crime, but that the childrens were victim of fatality.

While this could be technically true from a judicial point of view, that isn't what kills people. Fate doesn't kill, poor engineering, lack or poor oversight , greedy builders that mix too much sand into concrete do.
posted by elpapacito at 3:38 PM on May 12, 2008


This is a tragedy - hopefully it will help encourage the government to impose stricter building standards.
posted by prestor at 4:26 PM on May 12, 2008


Was this quake really 5 minutes long? That's incredible. Just last Friday in Tokyo (very early in the morning), we had a maybe 30 second quake that's seemed like the strongest I've felt since I moved to Japan 4 years ago. Everyone I've talked to said it woke them up. Oddly, no damage at all. Now this in China. Seismologist MeFites, can you connect the dots?
posted by zardoz at 5:23 PM on May 12, 2008


This thread is the first Google search result for Sichuan Earthquake.

Sad pics here: http://www.xdsf.com/bbs/thread-12415-1-1.html
posted by msittig at 6:19 PM on May 12, 2008 [2 favorites]


I'm currently in Shanghai and was supposed to have gone to Chengdu over the weekend, but had delayed it for business reasons until the end of this week. At this stage, I doubt I'll be going there anytime soon.

The quake was readily felt in our Shanghai office tower and seemed to go on for many, many minutes. I've been working with a team in Chengdu, and so far my colleagues there are all OK.

.
posted by michswiss at 7:49 PM on May 12, 2008


REALLY?! I had no idea. Who decided that sentences like this add to an article?

To be perfectly fair, that same sentence (more or less) was in an AP article that appeared in my local paper. So don't blame Wikipedia for its sources.

As for who decided to write that, it's fairly obvious that when it's too soon to have real reporting on the quake, you call some accessible sources for quotes. It's filler for now so you can say "this is a big deal" even when you don't have any data indicating that it is one.

Don't get me wrong, I'd love to see a collaborative news service doing news in the same manner as Wikipedia does knowledge in general. For the moment, however, maybe Wiki pages aren't where we should be going for our news.

I dunno. I thought the tsunami article went from a crappy "this just in" stub to a fantastic article in about 36 hours.

If you don't think of it as a news source but as a real-time encyclopedia, I think your expectations will be more in line with what you're getting. Besides, there's still Wikinews, which has a different approach. Articles on Wikinews aren't supposed to be taking the ten-year-view going in.

Anyway, the Three Gorges Dam is some 350 miles away, by reports. There is some risk associated with a very nearby earthquake (that study used a hypothetical of a tenth the magnitude, but 1/20th of the distance, of this quake). There is probably greater risk of a lake tsunami caused by quake-associated landslides (such as this one last month), and of the dam causing quakes due to the sheer weight of the water. It's probably impossible to prove a connection, but one has certainly been predicted.
posted by dhartung at 11:33 PM on May 12, 2008


Chinese officials blame that "monster with a human face" Mother Nature and her "splittist clique" for trying to divide China.

Earthquakes are funny, are they? Didn't see you joking when bombs went off in London, or the hurricane hit New Orleans, or when planes hit New York.

You're fucking hilarious. Keep that sense of humour; it'll be really useful when a natural disaster hits your home. You'd bring the house down with those lovely jokes.
posted by WalterMitty at 12:26 AM on May 13, 2008


Didn't see you joking when bombs went off in London, or the hurricane hit New Orleans, or when planes hit New York.

So much material, so little time.....
posted by three blind mice at 1:42 AM on May 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


The Times this morning reports 10,000 dead, but another 10,000 buried.
posted by nthdegx at 1:53 AM on May 13, 2008


We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time...
posted by quonsar at 5:10 AM on May 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


NPR and BBC were reporting 18,000 buried in one town alone, near the epicenter. Estimates are over 100,000 dead.

msittig, those pics are amazing. Everyone should see that.
posted by subaruwrx at 8:12 AM on May 13, 2008


Can someone please be sure to archive the pics on msittig's link before they get taken down by the PCP.
posted by Pollomacho at 8:36 AM on May 13, 2008


Sorry, I mean CCP, as opposed to the PLA. I'm getting my alphabet soup mixed up.
posted by Pollomacho at 8:40 AM on May 13, 2008


Interestingly, the Central authorities have been very, very lenient about censoring earthquake-related news this time. CCTV1 and CCTV4 have been on constant earthquake coverage since yesterday, and Xinhua has been publishing high fatality figures openly and updating them frequently. There are many more pics like the ones I posted above (isn't the image of the parents identifying their child's body just heartbreaking?) all over the internet now. Best coverage by online media is at Shanghaiist (to which I'm an infrequent contributer on the topic of public transportation so excuse the "self-link") and on Twitter by shizhao, unfortunately in Chinese. I don't know exactly how people outside China can donate to the Chinese Red Cross, but if you have the chance please do. Also, don't forget Burma/Myanmar.
posted by msittig at 9:21 AM on May 13, 2008


Incidentally, dont forget, as posted above, Doctors without borders has people on the ground in China and Burma. I dont know how fast donations make it over there, but money would be going directly to the medical relief.
posted by subaruwrx at 10:23 AM on May 13, 2008


Bad karma?
posted by metaplectic at 11:44 AM on May 13, 2008


Bad karma?

Yeah, those ethnic Tibetan Chinese nationals (the bulk of the earthquake dead) must have done soemthing awefult to be killed en masse like that.
posted by Pollomacho at 12:51 PM on May 13, 2008


I can't believe the magnitude of this earthquake...how terrible.
posted by game2 at 1:39 PM on May 13, 2008


Severe cracks in the dam at the Zipingpu Hydropower Station. (zoom out of the google maps view to see the river before it was damed)
posted by b1tr0t at 5:39 PM on May 13, 2008


A Rescue in China, Uncensored
posted by homunculus at 1:09 AM on May 14, 2008


http://www.china-quake.com/, for pictures and videos.

www.gettyimages.com also has about 500 images in their earthquake folder. http://www.gettyimages.com/Search/Search.aspx?EventId=81033161
posted by Catfry at 1:59 AM on May 15, 2008


China's Earthquake Candor Contrasts With Tibet Media Clampdown
posted by homunculus at 9:20 AM on May 15, 2008


"Beichuan, a vision of hell"
posted by Catfry at 4:48 AM on May 16, 2008


China passes test with flying colors"
"At the height of the Sars epidemic and the bird flu threat, China covered up what was happening not only from the outside world but from its own hapless citizens. The Government's instinctive reaction was to censor anything that might reflect badly upon it or the country. Pride demanded as much. Contrast that with the aftermath of the earthquake: an open-door policy to the Western media and a steady stream of uncensored information to the Chinese people."
posted by Catfry at 12:25 PM on May 16, 2008


China's quake calms Olympic controversies
posted by homunculus at 5:39 PM on May 17, 2008


Pandas Sensed China Quake Coming?
posted by homunculus at 10:45 AM on May 18, 2008


Earthquake Pushes Tibet to Sidelines
posted by homunculus at 11:01 PM on May 23, 2008


At this time the confirmed death toll is at 55 740 and 24 960 people are still missing.
posted by Catfry at 11:04 PM on May 23, 2008


Parents protest over school buildings collapse: Chinese parents seething over the earthquake-triggered collapse of school buildings that killed their children are starting to take action.
posted by homunculus at 11:23 PM on May 23, 2008


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