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Thursday, May 22, 2008

We've Been Having Some Very Bad Weather

in New York. It's been more like March than May; windy, rainy and cold.

Every time I want to complain, however, I think about things like this, and count my lucky stars.

YINGXIU, China (Reuters) - More than 80,000 people are dead or missing from China's worst earthquake in decades, the government said on Thursday, as concerns rose that disease, the rainy season and aftershocks could bring yet more pain.

Previously, authorities had said they expected the final death toll to exceed 50,000.

Ten days after the magnitude 7.9 quake rocked the mountainous southwest of the country, relief efforts focused on the 5 million homeless and the millions of others facing disease and possible "secondary disasters."

The government implored the international community to provide more relief aid, saying they needed more than 3 million tents and that just 400,000 had so far reached the disaster zone.

Hospitals in Sichuan were overwhelmed by the nearly 300,000 hurt, prompting the government to put on extra train services to ferry the injured to other parts of the country, state media reported.

Heavy rain, snow and aftershocks have exacerbated the dangers faced by more than 100,000 troops assisting in the relief effort.

"There have been constant aftershocks and the rainy season starts in June ... the earthquake has loosened the mountains," said Yun Xiaosu, Vice Minister of Land and Resources. "It is very likely to cause frequent geological disasters and to once again bring major losses to the quake area."


For a moment, we often need to take a breath and think about how other people in other countries are living (and dying). Life in the United States is very, very far from perfect - ask the prisoners at Gitmo, the 47 million in poverty, the inhabitants of the Gulf Coast, the folks in the South who suffer from drought, the flooded Midwesterners who are torn by tornadoes - but in general, we are gifted with plenty, and people of good hearts and intentions who are ready to wake up from our long national nightmare.

We will return to our regularly-scheduled obsession with the Democratic primary later. For now, if you have the time and the money, please give to the earthquake victims in China; and take a moment to count your blessings.

2 comments:

Timmy B said...

The government implored the international community to provide more relief aid...

This got me thinking (it happens) about the reaction of the Myanmar government to a much worse crisis. The Chinese, with huge resources are asking for help, while the Myanmarese, with limited resources, are grudgingly accepting some. Staying in power is more important than their people. The conditions must be appalling and most certainly deadly.

Woody (Tokin' Lib'rul/Rogue Scholar & O'erall Helluvafella!) said...

Staying in power is more important than their people. The conditions must be appalling and most certainly deadly.

i agree, and then i remember naomi klein's 'disaster kapitalism'...

and then, dang if i don't recall how the busheviks rejected aid after katrina...