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Report: Death toll in China quake exceeds 12,000


May 13 2008, 07:05 PM (Post #1)
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QUOTE
DUJIANGYAN, China - The toll of the dead and missing soared as rescue workers dug through flattened schools and homes on Tuesday in a desperate attempt to find survivors of China's worst earthquake in three decades.

The official Xinhua News Agency said the death toll exceeded 12,000 in Sichuan province alone, and 18,645 were still buried in debris in the city of Mianyang, near the epicenter of Monday's massive, 7.9-magnitude quake.

The Sichuan Daily newspaper reported on its Web site that more than 26,000 people were injured in Mianyang.

The numbers of casualties was expected to rise due to the remoteness of the areas affected by the quake and difficulty in finding buried victims.

There was little prospect that many survivors would be found under the rubble. Only 58 people were extricated from demolished buildings across the quake area so far, China Seismological Bureau spokesman Zhang Hongwei told Xinhua. In one county, 80 percent of the buildings were destroyed.

Rain was impeding efforts and a group of paratroopers called off a rescue mission to the epicenter due to heavy storms, Xinhua reported.

More than two dozen British and American tourists who were thought to be panda-watching in the area also remained missing.

Officials urged the public not to abandon hope.

"Survivors can hold on for some time. Now it's not time to give up," Wang Zhenyao, disaster relief division director at the Ministry of Civil Affairs, told reporters in Beijing.

Premier Wen Jiabao, who rushed to the area to oversee rescue efforts, said a push was on to clear roads and restore electricity as soon as possible. His visit to the disaster scene was prominently featured on state TV, a gesture meant to reassure people that the ruling party was doing all it could.

"We will save the people," Wen said through a bullhorn to survivors as he toured the disaster scene, in footage shown on CCTV. "As long as the people are there, factories can be built into even better ones, and so can the towns and counties."

State media said rescue workers had reached the epicenter in Wenchuan county — where the number of casualties was still unknown. The quake was centered just north of the Sichuan provincial capital of Chengdu in central China, tearing into urban areas and mountain villages.

Earthquake rescue experts in orange jumpsuits extricated bloody survivors on stretchers from demolished buildings.

Some 20,000 soldiers and police arrived in the disaster area with 30,000 more on the way by plane, train, trucks and even on foot, the Defense Ministry told Xinhua.

Aftershocks rattled the region for a second day, sending people running into the streets in Chengdu. The U.S. Geological Survey measured the shocks between magnitude 4 and 6, some of the strongest since Monday's quake.

Zhou Chun, a 70-year-old retired mechanic, was leaving Dujiangyan with a soiled light blue blanket draped over his shoulders.

"My wife died in the quake. My house was destroyed," he said. "I am going to Chengdu, but I don't know where I'll live."

Zhou and other survivors were pulling luggage and clutching plastic bags of food amid a steady drizzle and the constant wall of ambulances.

Just east of the epicenter, 1,000 students and teachers were killed or missing at a collapsed high school in Beichuan county — a six-story building reduced to a pile of rubble about two yards high, according to Xinhua. Xinhua said 80 percent of the buildings had collapsed in Beichuan alone.

At another leveled school in Dujiangyan, 900 students were feared dead. As bodies of teenagers were carried out on doors used as makeshift stretchers, relatives lit incense and candles and also set off fireworks to ward away evil spirits.

Elsewhere in Gansu province, a 40-car freight train derailed in the quake that included 13 gasoline tankers was still burning Tuesday, Xinhua said.

Gasoline lines grew in Chengdu and grocery stores shelves were almost empty. The Ministry of Health issued an appeal for blood donations to help the quake victims.

Fifteen missing British tourists were believed to have been in the area at the time of the quake and were "out of reach," Xinhua reported.

They were likely visiting the Wolong Nature Reserve, home to more than 100 giant pandas, whose fate also was not known, Xinhua said, adding that 60 pandas at another breeding center in Chengdu were safe.

Another group of 12 Americans also on panda-watching tour sponsored by the U.S. office of the World Wildlife Fund remained out of contact Tuesday, said Tan Rui, WWF communications officer in China.

Two Chinese-Americans and a Thai tourist also were missing in Sichuan province, the agency said, citing tourism officials.

Expressions of sympathy and offers of help poured in from the United States, Japan and the European Union, among others.

The Dalai Lama, who has been vilified by Chinese authorities who blame him for recent unrest in Tibet, offered prayers for the victims. The epicenter is just south of some Tibetan mountain areas that saw anti-government protests earlier this year.

Beijing Games organizers said the Olympic torch relay will continue as planned through the quake-affected area next month.

The Chinese government said it would welcome outside aid, and Russia was sending a plane with rescuers and supplies, the country's Interfax news agency reported.

But Wang, the disaster relief official, said international aid workers would not be allowed to travel to the affected area.

"We welcome funds and supplies; we can't accommodate personnel at this point," he said.

China's Ministry of Finance said it had allocated $123 million in aid for quake-hit areas.

The quake was China's deadliest since 1976, when 240,000 people were killed in the city of Tangshan, near Beijing in 1976. Financial analysts said the quake would have only a limited impact on the country's booming economy.


http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080513/ap_on_...hina_earthquake
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Jun 7 2008, 06:44 PM (Post #16)
beat me til i feel something
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jesus, you're looking back way too far. i stopped claiming atheism over a year ago.
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Jun 7 2008, 06:45 PM (Post #17)
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But I'm still correct.
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Jun 7 2008, 06:51 PM (Post #18)
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why yes, you are. and it was even under the ideal that i was still atheistic. put that in your pipe and smoke it jingy. what you gave , roger, was a perfect answer.
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Jun 7 2008, 07:22 PM (Post #19)
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QUOTE (Roger Smith @ Jun 7 2008, 10:01 AM)
I understand what you're saying, and while it may not be his view, I see it not as assigning a rigid purpose to a natural event but rather naming something that a natural event causes or does, in this case population control. The earthquake doesn't exist to control the population, but it is part of what it does, and has for a long time. Many species depend on natural disasters or other density-independent factors to keep their exponentially growing populations in check.
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No. Organisms do not depend on geological disasters such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions to keep their populations in control; ecological factors such as limitations on food supplies, prevalence of predators, and overuse of limited resources accomplish that task in nature.

But since the advent of industrialization, has the human species been subject to the ecological limitations that bind the population of other species? No, and that will not be a worldwide limitation for some time (it is in some regions such as Sub-Saharan Africa).

[Now @ Shadow]

Although I do not contest your assertion that the earthquake did in fact reduce worldwide population, I do disagree with you on your belief that the earthquake was a means of "population control via nature." Earthquakes are not caused by human intervention and neither are volcanic eruptions. Therefore, it makes no sense to select a random sample of people near tectonic fault lines to eliminate.

Shadow, your claim that the earthquake was just population control via nature was utterly insensitive and inappropriate. What would you have said if your grandmother (or replace the subject with anyone you love or admire of your choosing) died in the Loma Prieta earthquake in California? Would you have called that population control, or would you choose to view it from a more human perspective?

The only rational population control via nature is the limited agricultural capacity this world has and hence the limited number of people the world can support. Earthquakes (although they do damage to farmland) are not and should not be categorized the way you chose to categorize them.

Please watch what you say before you say it next time and let the innocent victims of natural disasters rest in peace; they were not killed off to control population.
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Jun 7 2008, 07:44 PM (Post #20)
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Organisms do depend on the factors you listed quite a lot more than what I said, but please recall that I was referring specifically to density-independent factors, and nothing else, as a means of keeping a population at or below its carrying capacity.

If I thought this was a touchy subject I certainly wouldn't have gone on analyzing it at all as I did, but no one responded with any heat or fervor as you just did, labeling it as inconsiderate until your most recent post here. I can certainly say I was in no way poking fun at the terror of the quake, I was merely debating the issue, and while I cannot speak for Shadowflare, context indicated that he did not say what he said with any malice, but rather a lofty "this sort of stuff happens" statement that is all poor, frail humans can do when faced with such acts as this.

To this point, I agree with you about population control coming truly out of resources, but one cannot deny that disasters such as the Plague certainly did lower the population, despite the gruesome deaths entailed, and you haven't denied it. However, I don't see how you can accept this and deny calling it "population control" despite the fact that it obviously is. The words may not be the nicest, but they are true to the effect, and of course it makes no sense to wipe out a random population, and of course it's not humans that are effecting it, but it is what happened. It's not that they were killed to this end, but it is, now looking back, what happened, unintentionally. I'm sorry we're getting on like this, I leave it to Shadowflare to respond and admit to minimizing the disaster jovially if that was his intent, and if it was, then yes, shame on him, but it seems it probably was not.

Please, if anyone ever feels hurt or insulted, let everyone know before it gets worse.

This post has been edited by Roger Smith: Jun 7 2008, 07:46 PM
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Jun 7 2008, 09:27 PM (Post #21)
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Perhaps what Shadow might have wanted to say was the fact that the natural disaster eliminated people on a completely random basis. You can't necessarily call it population control per se (Is someone like your mother dying population control, or natural causes, or what?), but rather nature doing what it does.
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Jun 8 2008, 12:45 AM (Post #22)
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if it were family, yes, of course id be a little sad. but all in all id still feel the same. its not like id be pissed off at nature. as for sensitivity, im sorry i understand and accept the harsh realities of life while you cant, but thats how i am. i see things from what could be called a "morbid" point of view because of that knowledge. to be angry with me tells me that you really arent as mature as you try to make yourself up to be, and i apologize for that. in my pessimism there is a positive. seeing things how i do lets me get over tragedy and emotional anguish much more quickly than most people. things die, and things will keep dying. dont mourn the inevitable, it'll only bring you fear of it.
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Jun 8 2008, 02:55 AM (Post #23)
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QUOTE (Shadowflare @ Jun 7 2008, 04:45 PM)
if it were family, yes, of course id be a little sad. but all in all id still feel the same. its not like id be pissed off at nature. as for sensitivity, im sorry i understand and accept the harsh realities of life while you cant, but thats how i am. i see things from what could be called a "morbid" point of view because of that knowledge. to be angry with me tells me that you really arent as mature as you try to make yourself up to be, and i apologize for that. in my pessimism there is a positive. seeing things how i do lets me get over tragedy and emotional anguish much more quickly than most people. things die, and things will keep dying. dont mourn the inevitable, it'll only bring you fear of it.
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I understand that you choose not to "mourn the inevitable," but that says nothing about making the insensitive suggestion that the earthquake was simply population control.

Also, how does being human—being able to sympathize and understand—make me any less mature? It is the emotional understandings that distinguish an immature being from a mature being.
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Jun 8 2008, 08:36 AM (Post #24)
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@Jinghao: Shadowflare seems to have been saying that population control was the result of the earthquake, not the cause of it. I don't think he was suggesting that nature decided to be a b*tch one day and kill thousands of people, but rather that nature does inevitably kill people.

@Shadowflare: You did put it in an insensitive way, at least by my standards. I understand your outlook is rather blunt, and I respect that, just don't be surprised if people take offense to it.

@Al (in response to something you posted on the Daily Cow, but I think it warrants discussion here) Nobody deserves these kind of things, but I think it is pointless to try and argue morality when it comes to natural disasters. If some people want to believe that karma caused the earthquake, let them think that. Nobody deserves to die, but that also brings up the question, does anybody deserve to live to begin with? We all do stupid things at some point or another in our lives, and we all inevitably die. I don't think double-standards should be imposed about the means of death, but when somebody believes that everything happens for a reason, that doesn't mean that that belief will stop in the face of a natural tragedy.

As for my own thoughts on this, it's upsetting. Not as much as if it were people I personally know, but then there's a reason that we don't have the capacity to love the whole world like our family. Yes, I do put moral double-standards between friends and family, and people I have no involvment with. I think that's how it should be. I find it right to make donations to relief of these kinds of disasters, but we can't have everybody in the world unite behind every problem facing society.

Let me word this is a way that doesn't imply something else. If a natural disaster hits somewhere, I might make a small donation, and that would be the extent of what I'd do. I would expect a lot of people to do the same, and it would add up to something significant, but the most help would need to come from those personally affected. If it were my family buried under there, I would go there and help out in every way I can. We cannot care for everybody in the world equally, and I think people who pretend that they do are bullshitting in order to boost their own reputation. I think that comparing Shadowflare's "insensitive" views to the situation of his family being caught or killed in a disaster is not a just comparison. The earthquake, and 12,000 deaths (or whatever it's up to now) make me sad, but if, say my brother was killed, I would be much more sad over the loss of him, than 12,00 people I don't know. Again, I'm not trying to imply that if you do care about people you don't know, then you're bullshitting, I just don't think that comparing it to your family is a just comparison.
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Jun 8 2008, 09:01 PM (Post #25)
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QUOTE (Shadowflare @ Jun 7 2008, 05:45 PM)
if it were family, yes, of course id be a little sad. but all in all id still feel the same. its not like id be pissed off at nature. as for sensitivity, im sorry i understand and accept the harsh realities of life while you cant, but thats how i am. i see things from what could be called a "morbid" point of view because of that knowledge. to be angry with me tells me that you really arent as mature as you try to make yourself up to be, and i apologize for that. in my pessimism there is a positive. seeing things how i do lets me get over tragedy and emotional anguish much more quickly than most people. things die, and things will keep dying. dont mourn the inevitable, it'll only bring you fear of it.
*


I'm as cynical of a person as you might ever meet, and in some ways, probably even more negative sometimes. Like you, I see life a consistent suffering phase, but you know what, the difference between you and I in all this morbid suffering is that I hope, and I mourn, despite the morbid beliefs. I would think that you have a heart; you are after all, dating Icey. Unless of course, there's something else to that one...

We are human, and the mourning is only part of it. You don't think elephants and various other creatures don't do the other things?
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Jun 8 2008, 09:37 PM (Post #26)
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i never said i dont mourn. and yes, i have a heart, but only for some things.i just dont get the point of mourning natural disasters for months and years. people who had nothing to do with the twin towers go to "ground zero" and cry. it's pointless. there are hearts that are too big.
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Jun 8 2008, 11:19 PM (Post #27)
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And what's wrong with hearts that are too big?

I know you already disagree, but you know what, we as humans are all connected. You are as human as the very next person, and there is something that connects us all. Facebook shows you already who knows who and whatever else. Yes, you shouldn't mourn too much, but you should acknowledge loss. Of course, in China's case, China has a very deep unifying personality, so that's why Jinghao feels the way he does -- and also because he is Chinese to begin with. I will tell you myself that looking at a plane slamming into the twin towers of the US made me pretty hurt inside too.
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Jun 10 2008, 03:23 AM (Post #28)
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I don't think there's anything wrong with caring too much, but I also think that nobody has an obligation to care about people they never knew. I believe there are two lines, one between not caring enough, and caring enough, the other between caring enough and caring too much. If we didn't care at all, then these things would have no significance (loss and death), and all the while, an attitude of apathy toward perhaps the people buried underground. But I also think that mourning the death of too many people can be bad. Tragedies are never good, but many people die every day. If we spend too much time mourning death, then our lives would be full of sorrow. This might also include the people who act like they care to boost their own image, but the line can reasonably be drawn with respect to how well you knew the people, and what you can actually do about it. I don't think anybody here crosses either of these lines. I think in Shadowflare's case, since he didn't know any of them, nor can he really do anything about it, he is right to not spend much time mourning or caring.
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Jun 12 2008, 05:00 PM (Post #29)
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yeah, that about sums it up. sbiggrin.gif
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Jun 13 2008, 05:24 AM (Post #30)
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QUOTE (Shadowflare @ Jun 8 2008, 03:37 PM)
i never said i dont mourn. and yes, i have a heart, but only for some things.i just dont get the point of mourning natural disasters for months and years. people who had nothing to do with the twin towers go to "ground zero" and cry. it's pointless. there are hearts that are too big.
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....hey...I'd be one of those people who would cry at ground zero. o__o;;
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