Sichuan Earthquake: 10 things worth reading
Instead of watching heartwrenching videos or trying to keep up-to-date on the death estimates, I decided to dig in and follow the Sichuan earthquake in reasonable detail. I quickly discovered that the best reports are in the independent (read: privately owned) Chinese media. Blogs and other web 2.0 type stuff is also providing excellent coverage.
I’ve been using twitter aggregator ‘Summize’ to read the absolute latest updates on the Sichuan earthquake. Of course, the search works in Chinese as well.
But twitter is not a panacea - Kaiser Kuo at ogilvy reminds us that there are plenty of other ways to keep up on breaking news in China.
Instead, consider getting your coverage from an independent Chinese media source like the Economic Observer (English) or Southern Weekend (Chinese)… with Chinese reporters and photojournalists in the field. The EEO article on why schools collapse is particularly good.
Get a feel for the geography and terrain to better understand what actually happened using one of these Visualizations from Google Earth.
After you take a look at the various hydroelectric dams scattered throughout the quake zone in Google Earth, read a bit more about the acknowledged threat of collapse here at WSJ.
And in case you were wondering about the pandas & tourists… the article is well done and a bit of a cliffhanger.
I wish I had seen the ancient irrigation system at Dujiangyan before the quake and I hope it survives intact because I’d still love to see it. In the meantime I enjoyed the fun panoramas here even though they’re a slow load. It’s amazing to think that leaders were doing a better job of designing water infrastructure more than 2000 years ago than they do today.
I can’t not link it. Peter Hessler’s students - the ones he talks about in River Town and Oracle Bones - update him on how the earthquake has impacted them. I just skimmed for their calls and emails. Most foreigners who live / have lived in China (particularly southwest China) have heard this kind of news from friends in the past week.
A very interesting article that compares Chinese and Burmese disaster response. I don’t appreciate the tone this article takes but it does raise a relevant point. The article starts annoying me when it suggests that disasters like this prove turning points for ‘authoritarian’ regimes. It seems to me, though, that the more public participation and sentiment is allowed / expressed, the more a government stands to be affected by the quality of their disaster response.
Wondering what you can do? This wiki explains how to donate to the quake relief effort.