China Earthquake: News Gets Grimmer by the Hour
Image via bbc

One has to wonder what exactly Asia has done to anger the violent Old Testament God recently, as the damage from Cyclone Nargis and now the 7.8 magnitude earthquake striking China have left the continent stretched to the breaking point.

The early headlines from China are grim, with the lone exception that reports that Pandas are ok. Over 12,000 people are reported dead, and a chemical plant in Shifang collapsed and sent 80 tons of Ammonia into the ground.

In addition to the appalling number above, some 20,000 additional Chinese are believed to be missing, a statistic which turns more grim every hour that they don’t turn up. The rescue operation has been hindered so far by bad weather, as a steady rain has been falling on the Sichuan province, not causing a major obstruction, but still slowing the pace of work that is absolutely time-critical.

China, which had been focusing on preparations for the summer Olympics, has had the media spotlight shifted onto the disaster. Thousands of videos captured on mobile phones and still images are flooding onto the censored Chinese version of the internet from a region where over 80% of all structures have been destroyed. The Chinese Army has responded by sending 50,000 troops to the area, but their progress must come at a cautious pace– aftershocks have been over a 6 magnitude so far, and have been derailing trains.

You can watch some coverage of the devastation the earthquake caused below