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Monday, August 16, 2010

China Under Water

Running concurrent to the unprecedented disaster in Pakistan was the extraordinarily devastating mudslides in mainland China. The nation has took part in a day of mourning yesterday, the whole country observing 3 minutes of silence. At 10 AM the Chinese Premier Wen Jibao paid silent tribute to the fallen ahead of a party meeting.

All across the country concerts were cancelled. Also, cinemas and karaoke bars across the nation were ordered closed. Even more interesting is that some Government websites changed their backdrops to black. China doesn't have many national displays of mourning, however, it is clear that when it does it is not a half hearted effort.

The rains began in May after a severe drought hurt China's Southern provinces. Te floods have been declared the worst since 1998 when over 4,100 people lost their lives. The difference between then and now is that the rainfall is more concentrated in specific areas.

The worst effected region was Zhouqu in Gansu province. The region still has hundreds of residents unaccounted for and continuing lashing rains are making the relief effort on muddy roads very difficult. One third of the town is still underwater.

However, there is some good news. The Chinese Government swiftly returned power to the region following the mudslides and while some cases of diaorrea have been reported it is not said to be at epidemic levels. Hundreds of tonnes of Sichun pepper and garlic have been dispatched to the region as they are believed to guard against various ailments. The Government has not calculated a new official death toll. It is estimated at
more than 1,200.

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