Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Major Chinese city at risk, yet no evacuation order given

AP reports on the aftermath of the earthquake in Central China which has claimed over 14,000 lives so far. But one new development is especially troubling:

Thousands of Chinese soldiers rushed on Wednesday to repair a dam badly cracked by the country's massive earthquake, while rescuers arrived for the first time in the epicenter of the disaster.

China's top economic planning body said that the quake had damaged 391 mostly small dams. It left "extremely dangerous" cracks in the Zipingpu Dam upriver from the earthquake-hit city of Dujiangyan and some 2,000 soldiers were sent to repair the damage, the official Xinhua News Agency said.
The city of Dujiangyan had a population of 600,000 in 2003. It sounds to me as if the city ought to be evacuated immediately. But there is no indication from the AP report that any order has been given to evacuate the city.

Update: Thirty minutes after I came across this wire story, the NY Times decided to make "Dams Reported Damaged" its top headline. Again no mention of any evacuation orders having been given for the city of Dujiangyan. This question is not raised in either news report.

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