Since May 12, 2008, the day of the now infamous 7.9 earth shattering quake in Wenchuan of Sichuan Province, the news has been reporting the devastation that has become China's reality. The loss of life has been horrendous. I've seen photos of some of the damage that C's orphanage, Hanzhong City SWI, incurred from the Wenchuan Earthquake (Hanzhong is 85 miles ENE from the epicenter). Initial reports put the death toll in Shaanxi Province at 61 with 176 injured (as of today, Shaanxi's death toll is 122 - the third highest). The damage to C's orphanage is fairly minor in comparisson to what others are dealing with, though it is still impressive by many standards. One outer wall has been completely destroyed and the children and nannies are all sleeping outside for fear of further aftershocks and damage. They are waiting for the buildings to be inspected, but in the mean time they are suffering with an infestation of mostquitoes. (See some photos and a map of orphanages affected by the Wenchuan Earthquake, including Hanzhong, by following this Half The Sky link: http://www.halfthesky.org/work/earthquake08.php)
As of this morning the current death toll is 69,127 people. Sadly, many younger school children were crushed in fallen debris, as the massive 7.9 quake occurred during their nap time. And many families have been torn apart by the grotesque death toll, with the 4,000 children who have been left orphans being sent to orphanages across the country.
With these numbers, this quake has now made the top 20 list of most devastating quakes in the world for a total of 5 that originated in China, including the two most devastating earthquakes in the world's history. The first quake originated in the town of Shensi of Shaanxi Province on January 23, 1556. The quake was estimated to measure an 8 on the Richter scale killing more than 830,000 people. Shaanxi and Sichuan Provinces share a border near Hanzhong City. The epicenter of the second deadliest quake was in Tangshan of Hebei Province (this province borders Bejing) with a 7.5 quake that officially killed more than 255,000 people, though some estimate that the actual death toll is as high as 655,000.
I get goosebumps every time I think about the children who are being left alone due to this humungous natural disaster. But I'm also very thankful that my daughter was not there to experience this crisis. I feel horrid just thinking about C's "boyfriend" who was her rock during her stay in Hanzhong. He is left to help pick up the pieces with the other children. I look at his photo and hope and pray that he (and everyone else) will remain safe and out of harms way.
Information regarding the deadliest earthquakes was gathered from the USGS site. You can review the information by following this link:
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