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The Day The Northern Earth Crumbled

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya, Just to let you know all is well here in Fujian Province. I am happy safe and well and until now I have been worried about several people I know who live around the earthquake area. Luo Wei called me as soon as it happened to let me know she was ok and several others have answered my text messages with a 'happy hello and all is well mate!' It's funny how things like this can cause a stir inside people and those you haven't heard from for a long time and thought had forgotten you are the first to contact you to see if you are ok. Stranger still are those you actually don't hear from. By this I mean the ones who actually don't know where the hell you live or how far away you really are or are not from the devastation. What is beautiful is as I've written above, those you haven't thought of or heard from for uncountable months or years being the first to contact and then there is family. My parents contacted the parents of a friend from my home town who is teaching in Sichuan near Chengdu and let me know that he was ok and that he had contacted his parents. Supposedly predicted in 2002 to happen sometime in the following seven years the earth certainly did not only as predicted but almost at the very spot. The predicted area was only 120 kms away from the epicenter. Though predicted, who is going to stand guard for seven years under a door frame or sleeping in a tent on a football field. No matter how powerful and smart we humans think we are nature simply shows us how small and insignificant we really are on the whirling third planet from the sun. We are now so smart that the news of such a tragedy can spread across the globe within seconds but when you think about it, how smart is that really when nature can do things to us as she did yesterday and to Myanmar and Thailand and Sri Lanka years prior. Several seconds is all it takes to put us in our place. As our lives continue to speed along nature seems to be right there along aide us. Australia has just been told that in the future we will experience things we have never experience before and that these 'things' are not going to be 'good'. These are things that as a country we are along way off from being ready for. How do you move almost an entire countries population away from the coast and even if you tried would anyone actually believe enough to actually move. As a country we have been very lucky when it comes to natural disasters. They happen of course, but not to the scale as in some other countries. Maybe it will be like 'global warming' and the water supply in Australia, Maybe we will simply continue on with our speedy lives and be too busy to believe that it will happen in our life time until it is nearly too late. Will it happen in our life time? No one seems to know how near or how far these 'things' are away. But what we do know is that if something like what happened yesterday happened in Australia we as a developed country have no way of dealing with. There are no plans or strategies put in place. There is no single department equipped to handle such a thing. What will happen is either everyone will try and take charge or that no one will take charge, either way it will be a lose/lose situation. Like me, the average Australian has no idea how to survive after several days without food and water. We are the lucky country when it comes to such huge disasters. Why the bloody hell would we know how to mate? We really have had no need to. For those who want to know what I'm talking about simply do some research into how many people die each and I mean EVERY year in countries like Vietnam and China in floods. Some years it has been in the hundreds of thousands but mostly it is in the high tens of thousands. We would luckily have several and when we are not so lucky between ten and twenty. Last year entire villages were swept away in tragic floods not far from where I live and all along the east coast. People here lost family and friends but then it still felt like I was watching it on television. I felt like I could turn the station and watch Home and Away kind of thing...hard to explain. Sometimes it's not until you move away from your lucky country that you really do begin to realise how lucky your homeland really is. When living at home you see things on the news that happen 'over there'. We say 'Oh my god, that's awful' and then switch to Home and Away. Why? Because we are lucky and we can! It doesn't make us bad people. I simply makes us human. Here at the moment I have people racing around me all day trying to find out if family and friends are still alive and thankfully I have friends and family who have done the same for me. But at the moment it's really not like watching it on the news. I can't switch to Home and Away and it is more than ten or twenty or even one hundred people that have been affected. I guess I'm not used to being 'amongst' such things in real life. It's a strange feeling knowing that I used to live in Gansu Province where part of it happened and that I've travelled around Sichuan and that my girlfriend was not so far away in a building that swayed. I've changed to make my life full of 'new' and have learned to bring on 'change' and love it but I guess this a 'new' experience I wasn't ready to feel. What time was Home and Away on again? Just joking, it is time for a walk and to be thankful that I now live in Fujian Province. It is also time to be thankful for having family and friends that care And on top of all that be thankful that I can still call Luo Wei. Her building swayed but remained. Whew! Beers N Noodles toya....Shane Below there is a huge amount of information on yesterday for those interested. PS: I know Chengdu (Sichuan) is actually South West but I'm a southerner and at's all northern to me!

PSS: (added Wednesday, 14th May): ON A VERY SAD NOTE: Luo Wei and other staff at the Uni she works for have now been put on '12 Hour Phone Duties'. Sadly many MANY students from the uni last term accepted jobs in and around the earthquake area. Sadly their parents have been ringing the uni in hope that their children have contacted them. From what I can gather, so far not many have contacted either parents or the uni.

Let's hope it is only due to communications being down. __________________________________________________________ The soundtrack to this entry was by the beautiful Tracy Chapman The album was 'New Beginning' ___________________________________________________________

<u>From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia</u>[/i]</b> Date May 12, 2008 Magnitude 7.9 Mw / 7.8 Ms Depth: 10 kilometres (6 mi) Casualties::12,400 dead (preliminary) The 2008 Sichuan earthquake happened at 14:28:04.1 CST (06:28:04.1 UTC) on 12 May 2008, with its epicenter in Wenchuan County, Sichuan province of the People's Republic of China. It had a magnitude of 7.8 Ms according to the State Seismological Bureau of China and 7.9 Mw according to the United States Geological Survey. The epicenter was 90 kilometres (55 miles) west-northwest of Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan. The earthquake was felt as far away as Beijing and Shanghai, where office buildings swayed with the tremor, Pakistan, Thailand, and Vietnam. With 11 921 recently confirmed dead so far, it was the deadliest and strongest earthquake to hit China since the 1976 Tangshan earthquake, which killed approximately 250,000 people. <u>Earthquake details</u></b> Map of epicenterThe epicenter was in Wenchuan County, Ngawa Prefecture, 90 km northwest of Chengdu, with its main tremor so far occurring at 14:28:04.1 CST (06:28:04.1 UTC), on Monday 12 May 2008. Early reports of the earthquake's magnitude ranged from 7.5 to 8.0. 20 major aftershocks ranging in magnitude from 5.0 to 6.0 were recorded within 24 hours of the main tremor. Office workers in Chengdu reported a "continuous shaking for about two or three minutes", with many people rushing outside. <u>Tectonic summary</u></b> "The earthquake occurred as the result of motion on a northeast striking reverse fault or thrust fault on the northwestern margin of the Sichuan Basin. The earthquake's epicenter and focal-mechanism are consistent with it having occurred as the result of movement on the Longmenshan fault or a tectonically related fault. The earthquake reflects tectonic stresses resulting from the convergence of crustal material slowly moving from the high Tibetan Plateau, to the west, against strong crust underlying the Sichuan Basin and southeastern China." "On a continental scale, the seismicity of central and eastern Asia is a result of northward convergence of the Indian Plate against the Eurasian Plate with a velocity of about 50 mm/y. The convergence of the two plates is broadly accommodated by the uplift of the Asian highlands and by the motion of crustal material to the east away from the uplifted Tibetan Plateau. The northwestern margin of the Sichuan Basin has previously experienced destructive earthquakes. The magnitude 7.5 earthquake of August 25, 1933 killed more than 9,300 people." <u>Immediate aftermath</u></b> USGS shake mapOffice buildings in Shanghai's financial district, including the Jin Mao Building and the Hong Kong New World Tower, were evacuated. Phone calls to emergency response numbers in Chengdu were repeatedly busy. A receptionist at the Tibet Hotel in Chengdu said the hotel had evacuated its guests, but said things were "calm" there now, while workers at a Ford plant in Sichuan were evacuated for about 10 minutes. The Chengdu airport shut down, and the control tower and regional radar control evacuated. One SilkAir flight was diverted and landed in nearby Kunming as a result. Reporters in Chengdu said they saw cracks on walls of some residential buildings in the downtown areas, but no building collapsed. Cathay Pacific delayed both legs of its daily Hong Kong to London route due to this disruption in air traffic services. Many Beijing office towers were evacuated, including the building housing the media offices for the organizers of the 2008 Summer Olympics. None of the Olympic venues were damaged. Meanwhile, a cargo train carrying 13 petrol tanks derailed in Bernama, Gansu Province and caught on fire after the rail was distorted. All of the highways into Wenchuan were damaged, resulting in delayed arrival of the rescue troops. Over 2,300 base stations of China Mobile in Sichuan and nearby areas went offline, while the China Unicom network in Wenchuan broke down entirely.In Beichuan county, 80% of the buildings collapsed according to Xinhua News. In the city of Shifang, the collapse of two chemical plants led to leakage of some 80 tons of liquid ammonia, with hundreds of people reported buried. In the city of Dujiangyan, south-east of the epicentre, a whole school collapsed with 900 students buried and 50 dead. The Juyuan middle school, where many teenagers were buried, is being excavated by civilians and cranes. China's President Hu Jintao has said that the disaster response would be rapid. Just one hour after the earthquake, Premier Wen Jiabao, who has an academic background in geomechanics, flew to the earthquake area to direct the rescue work. Shanghai Stock Exchange and Shenzhen Stock Exchange suspended trading of companies based in southwestern China. Copper rose over speculations that production in southwestern China may be affected, and oil prices dropped over speculations that demand from China will fall. China Mobile had more than 2,300 stations stop working due to power disruption or severe congestion and lost half of wireless communications in the Sichuan province. China Unicom's service in Wenchuan and four nearby counties was cut off, with more than 700 towers cut off. Officials have been unable to contact the Wolong Nature Reserve, home to 280 giant pandas. <u>Casualties</u></b> Region Estimated Deaths Sichuan Mianyang 7,395 Deyang 2,648 Chengdu 959 Guangyuan 800 Ngawa 161 other divisions 107 Gansu 213 Shaanxi 103 Chongqing 11 Henan 2 Yunnan 1 Estimated total: 12,400 The quake caused 12,000 known deaths according to a report at 11:44 UTC on 13 May 2008, but this figure may increase as more reports come in. In Chongqing, 5 students were reported killed, 20 more buried and more than 100 injured when one primary school collapsed. Xinhua reported that more than 50 students were confirmed killed and hundreds still buried when the Juyuan high school building collapsed in Dujiangyan, the city nearest to the epicenter. Officials and rescue teams have yet to reach some hardest hit areas closest to the epicenter due to roadways that were completely damaged or blocked off by landslides. The chief secretary of Wenchuan county said in a short satellite phone call that there were some 30,000 people gathered at the major town waiting for help, but roads and communication into the two hardest hit areas, Xuankou and Wolong, were still completely cut off. <u>Rescue effort</u></b> On May 12, 2008, China's Health Ministry said that it had sent 10 emergency medical teams to Wenchuan County in southwest China's Sichuan Province. On the same day, China's Chengdu Military Area Command dispatched 50,000 troops and armed police to help with disaster relief work in Wenchuan County[38] but because of the roughened terrain of the land and due to its close proximity to the quake's epicentre, the soldiers found it very difficult to get help to the rural regions of the province. The State Disaster Relief Commission initiated a "Level II emergency contingency plan" that covers the most serious class of natural disasters, which rose to Level I at 22:15 May 12 CST. An earthquake emergency relief team of 184 people (consisting of 12 people from the State Seismological Bureau, 150 from the Beijing Military Area Command, and 22 from the Armed Police General Hospital) left Beijing from Nanyuan Airport late May 12 in two military transport planes to travel to Wenchuan County. The Red Cross Society of China sent 557 tents and 2,500 quilts valued at 788,000 yuan (113,000 U.S. dollars) to Wenchuan County. The Amity Foundation has already started relief work in the region and has earmarked CNY 1 million for disaster relief. Many international rescue teams, including that of Taipei City Fire Department, are reported ready to join the rescue in Sichuan. However, the Red Cross Society of China said "it was inconvenient currently". Due to the persistant heavy rain and landslides at the Wenchuan County and nearby area, rescue progression is badly affected. As of 12:55:21, May 13 2008 CST, the first group consists of 1,300 soldiers and a medical unit have reached Wenchuan County, the epicenter. By 17:37, May 13 2008 CST, a total number of over 15,600 troops and militia reservists from Chengdu Military Region have joined the rescue force in the heavily affected areas. A commander reported from Yingxiu town, Wenchuan that around 3,000 survivors were found, while the status of the rest inhabitants (around 9,000) are still remains unclear. <u>Prediction</u></b> In 2002, a study by Chen Xuezhong published in the Chinese seismology journal Recent Developments in World Seismology reported that starting 2003 there is a high probability of earthquake in Sichuan Province. "Sichuan is virtually certain to experience an earthquake measuring above 7 in the next few years" he wrote. On May 3, around 20:00 local time, Ngawa Prefecture's Earthquake Relief Authority received a number of phone calls asking them to confirm or deny a rumor that an earthquake had been predicted for Matang Village of Suomo township of Barkam County. The Authority then searched for the source of the rumors. Barkam County is about 120 kilometers (about 75 miles) northwest of the epicenter of the May 12 earthquake. On 6 May nearly 80,000 m3 of water that once filled the Guanyin pond of Baiguo township of Enshi city, Hubei province sank underground with a rumbling sound. On May 9, the official website of Sichuan Provincial Government reported that the provincial seismological bureau has denied making any related predictions. Tracing the rumors to a video conference when Barkam County's Geological Disaster Preventive Committee told county officials of a possible "Geological disaster" but was misconstrued as a possible "Earthquake disaster". An anonymous user posted a thread on the popular Baidu Forums stating that earthquake clouds were observed in Linyi, Shandong, this was later confirmed by a user from Tongzhou District in Beijing. On May 10, residents of Tanmu village of Southwest town of Mianzhu, Sichuan (less than 100 km from the epicentre) observed hundreds of thousands of toads migrating on a roadway near a pharmaceutical factory A similar phenomenon was observed a day earlier in Taizhou, Jiangsu. <u>Tremors felt in other places</u></b> Bangladesh: In parts of Bangladesh tremors were felt eight and a half minutes after the quake. Bhutan: India: Tremors were felt approximately nine minutes after the earthquake in parts of India. Japan: Tremors were felt in Tokyo. Mongolia: Tremors were felt approximately eight minutes after the earthquake in parts of Mongolia. Myanmar/Burma: Nepal: Tremors were felt approximately eight and a half minutes after the quake. Pakistan: In parts of Northern Pakistan tremors were felt ten minutes after the quake. People's Republic of China: Mainland China: All parts except Jilin, Heilongjiang and Xinjiang. Hong Kong: Tremors were felt approximately three minutes after the quake, continuing for about half a minute. This was also the farthest distance from the epicentre felt in Hong Kong's record. Macau: Tremors were felt approximately three minutes after the quake. Russia: tremors were felt in Tuva, no casualties reported. Taiwan: It took about eight minutes for the quake to reach Taiwan, then the tremors continued for one to two minutes; no damage or injuries were reported. Thailand: In parts of Thailand tremors were felt six minutes after the quake. Continuing for 7 to 8 minutes. Vietnam: Tremors were felt approximately five minutes after the earthquake in Northern parts of Vietnam.

Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China

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