Sichuan quake: Chinese government was warned of disaster

Ray

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Sichuan quake: Chinese government was warned of disaster

One of China's leading seismologists warned that a devastating earthquake would strike the exact area where more than 200 people have now lost their lives.


Professor Chen Yuntai, twice president of China's Seismological Society, warned in the wake of the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake that the same fault line was likely to rupture again in the coming years.

The warning was reported to China's top leaders in Reference News, a daily internal briefing for the Communist party, but was not acted upon. "We collected the data from the Wenchuan earthquake and we calculated that there would be another big quake around 60 miles to the south west, which is Baoxing county," he said.

"We gave a seminar organised by the Chinese Academy of Sciences 10 days after the Wenchuan earthquake and a reporter for Xinhua (the state news agency) wrote it up for the Politburo.

"I shared the findings with many counterparts in Beijing and Sichuan but only a few people paid any attention," he said. "I was worried because I was sure that there would be this aftershock".

More than 2,200 aftershocks in the wake of the latest quake were still panicking survivors and hampering rescue efforts in the mountainous area on Monday.

Four of the aftershocks have had a magnitude of 5 to 5.9 according to the local seismological bureau.

The near constant seismic activity has caused further landslides and slowed rescuers battling along narrow mountain roads to reach the worst-affected villages.

"Residents and rescuers must be highly alert to the dangers of mudslides, especially after rain," said Fan Xiao, chief engineer at the Sichuan Geology and Mineral Bureau in Chengdu. "There will be lots of rain in the coming months."

By Monday, the death toll from the earthquake had reached 213, including 25 missing victims. More than 11,000 people were injured, 13,000 homes were destroyed and more than 220,000 people have been evacuated from the region, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs.

"The logistics of getting the relief supplies through have been quite challenging and people have had a very difficult time waiting for the most basic supplies," said Francis Markus, a spokesman for the International Red Cross.

"We hope the weather does not make things worse and that the aftershocks will subside as quickly as possible.

"It is going to be a protracted difficult time for people, both physically and psychologically because this region has been struck twice, so in a way it is kind of a double blow," he added.

The art of earthquake prediction remains controversial, but last October six Italian scientists and an ex-government official were found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to six years in prison for failing to predict an earthquake in L'Aquila in 2009.

Seismologists have also predicted for years that a huge earthquake along the San Andreas Fault will destroy large swathes of California.

However Prof Chen said that now the Longmenshan fault has released its energy, Sichuan is unlikely to suffer a further quake in the medium term.
"In the future, there is no guarantee that there will not be a big earthquake in Sichuan again, but the possibility has shrunk," he said.

Sichuan: China was warned of disaster - Telegraph




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9 Chengdu Qingyang District 成都市
Chéngdū Shì 14,047,625
— Prefecture-level city —
3 Mianyang Fucheng District 绵阳市
Miányáng Shì 4,613,862
4 Guangyuan Lizhou District 广元市
Gǔangyúan Shì 2,484,125
5 Nanchong Shunqing District 南充市
Nánchōng Shì 6,278,622
6 Bazhong Bazhou District 巴中市
Bāzhōng Shì 3,283,771
7 Dazhou Tongchuan District 达州市
Dázhōu Shì 5,468,092
8 Ya'an Yucheng District 雅安市
Yǎ'ān Shì 1,507,264
10 Deyang Jingyang District 德阳市
Déyáng Shì 3,615,759
11 Suining Chuanshan District 遂宁市
Sùiníng Shì 3,252,551
12 Guang'an Guang'an District 广安市
Guǎng'ān Shì 3,205,476
13 Meishan Dongpo District 眉山市
Méishān Shì 2,950,548
14 Ziyang Yanjiang District 资阳市
Zīyáng Shì 3,665,064
15 Leshan Shizhong District 乐山市
Lèshān Shì 3,235,756
16 Neijiang Shizhong District 内江市
Nèijiāng Shì 3,702,847
17 Zigong Ziliujing District 自贡市
Zìgòng Shì 2,678,898
18 Yibin Cuiping District 宜宾市
Yíbīn Shì 4,472,001
19 Luzhou Jiangyang District 泸州市
Lúzhōu Shì 4,218,426
21 Panzhihua Dongqu District 攀枝花市
Pānzhīhūa Shì 1,214,121
— Autonomous prefectures —
1 Garzê
(for Tibetan) Kangding County 甘孜藏族自治州
Gānzī Zàngzú Zìzhìzhōu 1,091,872
2 Ngawa
(for Tibetan & Qiang) Barkam County 阿坝藏族羌族自治州
Ābà Zàngzú Qiāngzú Zìzhìzhōu 898,713
20 Liangshan
(for Yi) Xichang 凉山彝族自治州
Liángshān Yízú Zìzhìzhōu 4,532,809

The majority of the province's population is Han Chinese, who are found scattered throughout the region with the exception of the far western areas. Thus, significant minorities of Tibetans, Yi, Qiang and Naxi reside in the western portion forming a traditional transition zone between Central Asian and East Asian cultures. The Eastern Lipo, included with either Yi people or Lisu people as well as the A-Hmao also are among the ethnic groups of the provinces. Sichuan was China's most populous province before Chongqing was carved out of it; it is currently the fourth most populous, after Guangdong, Shandong and Henan.

It was the third most populous sub-national entity in the world, after Uttar Pradesh, India and the Russian SFSR until 1991 when the Soviet Union was dissolved. It is also one of the only four to ever reach 100 million people (Uttar Pradesh, Russian RSFSR, Maharashtra, and Sichuan). It is currently 10th.

Comprising an eastern portion of the historical Tibetan region of Kham, 51.49% of the total area of Sichuan has a substantial population of Tibetans; these areas in western Sichuan contain 1.88 million people of whom 1.25 million are Tibetans.

Sichuan - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Not surprising why the Chinese leading seismologist's warning to the Chinese Communist honchos was disregarded.

Good chance now to keep building and upgrading villages paying marginal compensation and earning good money for the Politburo to squander elsewhere!
 
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