CHINA’S EARTHQUAKE PREPAREDNESS
Hal Pepinsky, firstname.lastname@example.org, “peacemaking” at pepinsky.blogspot.com
May 1, 2015
Yesterday, I was struck by the disdain with which a BBC reporter in northeast Nepal described the Chinese response to the earthquake, where today in Nepal the death toll has climbed past 6,000. The reporter complained that foreign reporters had no access to the Chinese-controlled part of Tibet adjoining Nepal. Accordingly, the Chinese claim that only 25 lives had been lost on its territory “could not be verified,” she said, and to make matters worse, international agencies could not gain access to send in aid.
I checked the New China News Agency web site. Their primary story is of a tent city that they have set up on the Nepalese border, complete with electricity and plumbing, even internet service, to hold at least 1,000 refugees. They indeed report 25 lives lost and two border towns destroyed. Their second story features the crew celebrating having cleared the two-lane trade route into Nepal of landslides, showing the road itself intact and open to traffic. My inference: for a country its size, in an area remote from Beijing, the Chinese have done a remarkable job both of building infrastructure, and of having a national army and other forces at hand to respond to natural disasters in a way that puts my country’s responses, let alone the response both internally and globally in Nepal, to shame. For all we in my part of the world celebrate how materially and technologically advanced we are in the West, the infrastructure and disaster response of the Chinese is a testament to the power of a government to support public infrastructure, and to be accessible in time of need. And sometimes, failure to open up to outside aid and publicity may indicate that people are too busy taking care of business to be disturbed. Love and peace, hal