Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Earthquake Update

Other the course of yesterday evening and today more news has been coming in about Monday's earthquake. When I checked the news immediately after the quake only five people had been reported dead. Those numbers have now become absolutely staggering. The death count has risen to a confirmed 10,000 but 10,000 more are still unaccounted for, making this China's largest natural disaster in a long time. Here is the latest NY Times article, as well as some pictures and maps. Several schools were also killed in the quake and a resulting landslide, leaving more than 1,000 students dead and countless others are still missing.

Minutes after the first quake occurred in Sichuan province, an additional, smaller quake occurred on the outskirts of Beijing, which is presumably what we felt yesterday. Everyone I talked to reported feeling dizzy for a few minutes during the quake. Aid efforts may be limited because of the massive amount of damage after the recent Myanmar cyclone.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Breaking News: Tremor felt in Beijing

Today I taught a first grade class for Ms. Holzheimer because she is on vacation in Guilin. Part way through the class we are getting ready to teach a nursery rhyme when I realize that the lights (which are hung from the ceiling by chains) are starting to swing violently and the building is shaking ever so slightly. We were a little skeptical but it stopped after one or two minutes and we just attributed it to a strong wind, of which Beijing never lacks.

When I got home from school today I logged onto Facebook and lo and behold, several of my Beijing friends had posted about the earthquake. I immediately checked the New York Times, and though it took a little searching (it was too soon after the quake for a regular article) I did find this headline. This wasn't any small earthquake. 5 children were killed when a school building collapsed and more than 100 were left injured in the initial 7.8 magnitude quake. The quake's epicenter was close to Chongqing, a city in Sichuan province. The USGS filed this report.

I'm sure more news will come in with the passing of time, but it is pretty stunning to have experienced my first earthquake.