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Burma Millions Vulnerable and China Earthquake May Be Man-Made

May 14, 2008

UN raises Burma cyclone estimate

The UN has sharply increased its estimate of those severely affected by Burma’s cyclone to 2.5m people.

The figure was revised up from the 1.5m previously thought to be in need, following the storm 12 days ago.

Since Cyclone Nargis struck, hardly any foreign aid workers have been allowed into Burma to hand out relief supplies.

Latest Burmese official figures put the death toll at almost 38,500 with 27,838 more missing but the Red Cross warned as many as 128,000 could be dead.

‘Food is not the problem. Right now, it’s clean water’

Red Cross: Up to 128,000 may have died in Myanmar

Monsoon predicted in Myanmar delta

Aid Trickling In to Myanmar

International disaster assistance experts are still having trouble securing visas, despite ongoing negotiations. There is great concern about the possibility of disease among the many, now homeless, survivors, but no outbreaks have been reported yet.

THE devastating natural disasters in Burma and China illustrate the difference between having a competent government and an incompetent one.

The Burmese military, unlike the Chinese, has done little to help its people, of whom more than 100,000 are already dead. The Burmese Government’s reluctance to allow foreign aid in will condemn many more tens of thousands to unnecessary deaths.

Optimistic analysts in Southeast Asia and in the West hope the appalling suffering in Burma may lead to the collapse of the military junta and its replacement by a government led by Aung San Suu Kyi.

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China quake toll close to 15,000

Nearly 15,000 people died in the devastating earthquake that hit China’s Sichuan province, the official Xinhua news agency has reported.

More than 25,000 are still trapped in the rubble two days after the 7.9 quake struck, flattening homes, schools and entire villages and cutting roads.

Soldiers have begun to reach the isolated epicentre by helicopter and on foot, bringing much needed supplies.

The government has meanwhile downplayed fears about the stability of a dam. No damage has been reported to the massive Three Gorges Dam, also in Sichuan province, but there were concerns about dozens of smaller dams closer to the epicentre.

Troops sent to repair quake-hit Chinese dam

Some 2,000 Chinese troops were sent today to repair “extremely dangerous” cracks in a dam upstream of an earthquake-hit city where 500,000 people live.

Officials warned that Dujiangyan “would be swamped” if the Zipingpu reservoir were to breach the hydroelectric dam, five miles upstream of the south-western city.

Earlier, engineers released water from the reservoir to relieve pressure on the dam, after cracks appeared on its surface.

Speaking to Reuters, He Biao, the deputy Communist party chief of Aba prefecture, said: “If the danger intensified, it could affect some power stations downstream. This is an extremely dangerous situation.”

Yesterday authorities pointed out that the earthquake had not damaged the huge Three Gorges dam, which is still incomplete. The quake registered a magnitude of four in the dam area, which is 600 miles from the epicentre of the quake, where it registered 7.9.

The Three Gorges dam is designed to withstand earthquakes up to seven in magnitude. However, one of the many criticisms made of the dam was that its sheer size could trigger earthquakes.

China’s deadly quake: Is the Three Gorges dam to blame?

Though the deadly Wenchuan earthquake was the result of tectonic stresses, experts are concerned that the filling of the Three Gorges dam’s enormous reservoir may have induced or exacerbated the earthquake.

Engineers have already linked the massive weight of water behind the Three Gorges dam to increased seismic activity since its filling began in 2003.
“Whether reservoir-induced seismicity is behind this week’s earthquake should be urgently investigated before the Three Gorges reservoir is filled to its maximum height,” says Patricia Adams, executive director of Probe International, a Canadian group monitoring the Three Gorges dam since the 1980s.

The deadly month of Dis-May! Burma’s Junta makes matters worse by adding human greed to a costly natural disaster. This despicable ruling Junta is confiscating the ‘cream’ of humanitarian aid for their own use. They continue to impede foreign aid workers from participating and organizing effective relief efforts. All this band of hoodlums want is the goodies. To Hell with their people … It is time for pre-emptive intervention to save lives, prevent outbreaks of disease and assist in rebuilding infrastructure.

China is not ready to admit the Three Gorges Dam project could have led to the devastating earthquake. No one listened years ago when there were protests mounted on scientific evidence that because Three Gorges sits atop two great fault lines, there could be heavier seismic consequences.

Again, accountability and forward thinking appear to be mere irritants to today’s world governments. When the bottom line is money, power and image, consequences become someone else’s responsibility. Let the next generation worry about the consequences, “we live for today” … where have we heard that before? Oh yes, that old hippie song …

Let’s Live For Today by The Grass Roots, 1967

When I think of all the worries people seem to find
And how they’re in a hurry to complicate their minds
By chasing after money and dreams that can’t come true
I’m glad that we are different, we’ve better things to do
May others plan their future, I’m busy lovin’ you (1-2-3-4)
Sha-la-la-la-la-la, live for today
Sha-la-la-la-la-la, live for today
And don’t worry ’bout tomorrow, hey, hey, hey
Sha-la-la-la-la-la, live for today
Live for today
We were never meant to worry the way that people do
And I don’t need to hurry as long as I’m with you …

And the world suffers the consequences.

Cross Posted on BlueBloggin
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