UPDATE: China Quake Death Toll Hits 10,000



NEW YORK TIMES: BEIJING — A powerful earthquake struck a mountainous region of western China on Monday, reportedly killing more than 8,700 people, including as many as 5,000 people in a single county, and trapping more than 900 students beneath a collapsed high school as tremors shook buildings throughout China and were felt as far away as Thailand and Vietnam, according to interviews and reports in China’s state media. 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 9 p.m. local time, thechinamao.jpg state news agency Xinhua quoted provincial disaster relief officials as saying that 3,000 to 5,000 people were feared dead in Beichuan County. Roughly 80 percent of the buildings in the county were reportedly destroyed. An hour later, it reported 7,651 dead in Sichuan Province alone. MORE

UPDATE: DUJIANGYAN, China — The children who were considered fortunate escaped with a broken bone or a severed limb. The others, hundreds of them, were carried out to be buried, and their remaining classmates lay crushed beneath the rubble of the schoolhouse. “There’s no hope for them,” said Lu Zhiqing, 58, as she watched uniformed rescue workers trudge through mud and rain toward the mound of bricks and concrete that had once been a school. “There’s no way anyone’s still alive in there.” Little remained of the original structure of the school. No standing beams, no fragments of walls. The rubble lay low against the wet earth. Dozens of people gathered around in the schoolyard, clawing at the debris, kicking it, screaming at it. Soldiers kept others from entering. A man and woman walked away from the rubble together. He sheltered her under an umbrella as she wailed, “My child is dead! Dead!”

As dawn crept across this shattered town on Tuesday, it illuminated rows and rows of apartment blocks collapsed into piles, bodies wedged among the debris, homeless families and their neighbors clustered on the roadside, shielding themselves from the downpour with plastic tarps. The earthquake originated here in the lush farm fields and river valleys of Sichuan Province, killing almost 10,000 people and trapping thousands more. One of the most jarring tragedies of the disaster was the school collapse in a suburb of Dujiangyan. At least several hundred children were killed, perhaps as many as 900. Prime Minister Wen Jiabao flew here on Monday to survey the destruction, but he was powerless to ease the suffering of the survivors. MORE
NPR: Liveblogging The Quake


CORRECTION: A few weeks back we posted what were purported to be never-before-seen photos of the aftermath of the Hiroshima bombing. Since then, it has been revealed that these photos are actually of the The Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 [pictured above]. Our bad. To wit:

“The Robert L. Capp collection at the Hoover Institution Archives at Stanford University contains ten photographs purportedly showing the immediate aftermath of the Hiroshima bombing. Mr. Capp was assigned to the occupation forces outside Hiroshima after World War II. According to to Mr. Capp’s oral history (available along with the photographs in the Robert L. Capp collection), he found these photosatombomb.gif among rolls of undeveloped film in a cave outside of Hiroshima. Since making these photographs publicly available, I have received reliable proof that at least two of these photos are actually of the 1923 Kanto earthquake. While I cannot speak for the entire collection, this evidence raises doubts about all of the photos and raises the strong possibility that the identification provided by the Hoover Archives is incorrect. I take full responsibility for my own failure to take additional steps to verify that the original archival designation was correct. I have removed the photographs until and unless their source can be verified by further research.” — Sean L. Malloy, Author of Atomic Tragedy MORE

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