Tuesday, May 12, 2009

5.12 Earthquake Anniversary

China has more than its share of disasters, natural and man-made. From recent history, we have farmer army turned to killers/rapers in the end of Ming, then the opium pushers from the west, the war criminals from Japan in WW2, Mao’s disasters and two major earthquakes.

This one demonstrates China can survive better than before. We need to prepare for the next disaster. Enforce building codes at a reasonable cost.

Special thanks to our schoolmate Malcolm who went to the disaster area to help and all who donated.

Here are 2 of the many links to very powerful, emotional pictures.

click here for link #1

click here for link #2

Click here for carton.

Click here for a good story to show human spirit.

Click here for another emotional story.


  1. Comparing to TongShen earthquake, China did a decent job. The following is an outline to prepare for the next disaster.

    1. Building codes, enforcement and corruption. Better houses would reduce the no. of fatalities esp. in weaker earthquakes.

    2. Helicopters would help a lot to survive. I feel China did not have enough of them and/or they are not strategically located.

    3. China refused US’s help. The US carrier was close by. Is ’saving face’ more important than the lives of its citizens?

    4. Rescue facilities such as warehousing supplies, canine rescue unit…

    5. Does China have something equivalent to US’s National Guard that could help in emergency?

  2. Thanks Joe for his insights:

    Most buildings in China do not have building code. It is long way before China can handle earthquake destruction well. If there is no building code, talking about corruption is pointless. No building code, no standard, no responsibility, no corruption ….

    I was very upset and worried about the school building our family donated in our village. But I was explained that there is no way I can worry about that. Again! No building code, no responsibility. Our relative advice me that he is very careful to make sure he is doing his best to provide a ‘strong’ building.

    China aware of not enough technology in aerospace. With US weapon embargo fully on, it is hard for China to move up too quickly to build more helicopters. But it is more of preparedness than enough hardware. China have few hundred helicopters. If China mobilize them very early, most of them can reach the scene within 10 hours. If not because prime minister was in charge and was very mad to see too little helicopters arrived, there will be far less helicopter arrive at the scene. Watching Wen very mad, very sad and ordered the general: “I don’t care how you do it. You must got it done!” It is sad to see many areas do not have rescuer in 3 days. It is hard for foot soldiers to reach the scene without roads. But…

    China did a very good job. More than 100K soldiers and many more volunteers are mobilized. Which made foreign rescuers just a mere token, without right protocol, it is hard to mobilize foreign help. It is not face saving or not face saving. 4 countries sent rescuers, not only late, but a 20ish per country is just good faith. Hope the world can form a World Natural disaster Organization under UN. (WDO).

    After the quake China made a deal with Russia to build the world biggest helicopter.

    Chinese military have many functions. They build roads, wilderness reclamation, water reclamation, fire fighting, earth quake fighting or any natural disaster or manmade disaster such as mine collapse etc. There are many different units. I don’t know them all. But they seems very effective. The 5.12 show the power of Chinese army in action. Very swift, massive….

    In short, Chinese soldiers have to work. Not sitting around.

    In comparison, we should feel shame of our Katrina disaster. We did a lousy job. Our rebuilding process is even worse. China is a much poorer nation. China put in far extensive rescue action and a far massive rebuilding process.