Monday, May 12, 2008

Quake Kills Thousands in Western China

What the New York Times said.

The earthquake was the worst to hit China since the Tangshan earthquake of 1976 when more than 240,000 people died.

The 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit in Sichuan Province on Monday afternoon, and the death toll steadily increased throughout the evening, raising concerns that the number could go far higher.

By 11.40 p.m. local time, the state news agency Xinhua quoted local authorities as saying that the number of dead had risen to 8,533 in Sichuan Province alone. Provincial disaster relief officials said that 3,000 to 5,000 people were feared dead in Beichuan County where roughly 80 percent of the buildings were reportedly destroyed.

Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, who arrived in the earthquake region on Monday night, described the situation as a “severe disaster” and called for “calm, confidence, courage and efficient organization.”

President Hu Jintao ordered an “all out” effort to aid people in the region and soldiers were dispatched for disaster relief efforts. Minutes after the western temblor, a second, smaller quake struck hundreds of miles away, in an outer district of Beijing. Thousands of office workers were evacuated, but no damage was reported in the city, which is preparing to play host to the Olympics in August.

Sorry, nothing pithy for this.

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