Lushan Earthquake: A test for China’s Military

21 Apr

On April 20th 2013 at 08:02am local time a 6.6 magnitude earthquake struck Lushan County, Sichuan Province China. The cause of the earthquake is due to crustal thrust along the Longmenshan Fault system between the Indian and Eurasian plate boundary. Estimates at present presume a death toll of 203 people and around 11,500 injured. Many buildings have been damaged or completely destroyed and main efforts at present are directed towards saving people trapped in the rubble, as Premier Li Keqiang stated “The current most urgent issue is grasping the first 24 hours after the quake’s occurrence, the golden time for saving lives”.  


Premier Li Keqiang meets rescue workers in Lushan Province

 This is more than a natural disaster however. Being just under a week after china released its Defence White Paper, which majorly emphasised how the increase in military spending and training was for emergency rescue and disaster relief situations, eyes will now be on China to see exactly how well the military respond. Reports claim that an emergency response plan has already been formulated and 8,000 soldiers from the People’s Liberation Army have been deployed across the rural, mountainous earthquake area to scour villages and towns for survivors. Questions are already being raised however over the success of the rescue operation after crucial supplies are not reaching villages due to impassable roads from landslides. China is currently accepting rescue aid from international charities such as World Vision, however has refused overseas help from other countries such as Japan, perhaps in an effort to display how effective its military really is.,0,6802356.story



5 Responses to “Lushan Earthquake: A test for China’s Military”

  1. jc35g10 April 21, 2013 at 2:41 pm #

    Although there have been worries about how effective rescue teams are going to be, due to many roads being impassable and communication networks being “disrupted”, many rescuers have surprised officials and followers of the disaster by reaching even some of the most remote places, struggling by foot to help those affected. Despite the devastating effect the disaster has had on the Sichuan province, it has also led to many seeing the true kindness and lengths that many will go to in order save and help those whose lives have been affected by this large scale earthquake. Therefore, even through the misery and pain that has been caused, I feel that the silver lining to a situation such as this is that, sometimes, the human race proves itself by rising to the occasion in times of great need. Makeshift hospitals have been created to deal with the burden, and families are supporting those who may have lost loved ones. Although financial aid and support from other countries, such as Japan, is important and vital for long-term purposes, the immediate response of the community and rescue teams can arguably be seen as more valuable.


  2. Nick Wake April 21, 2013 at 2:48 pm #

    It’s awful to see that China is refusing Japanese help to find the injured is the ‘golden time’ for saving lives. I think that if China wanted to express the strength of their military they still should have accepted help but used the key strength of delegation to maximise survival efforts. China have not got their priorities right here i’m afraid.

  3. de1g11 April 21, 2013 at 3:38 pm #

    in 2008 there was an earthquake that measured 7.9 on the richter scale. It caused around 10,00 deaths and required several hundred million Yuan to repair the damage. It may be argued that this incident was a greater test for chinas military than this smaller earthquake. The white papers statement about the increase in spending on training for rescue efforts is most likely based upon the sichuan experience rather than trying to show regional powers its military has a diverse set of skills. Natural disasters are not uncommon in China and the response can only be as rapid based upon how prepared the rescue forces are. There will be criticism as there always is for the governments reaction but China has been in worse situations than this before and will be able to provide a sustained and effective rescue operation.

  4. zifeng kang April 21, 2013 at 3:53 pm #

    After the serious earthquake, Xi Jinpng and Li Keqiang has proposed a series important instructions that everyone has to be seen saving lives as the top task regardless any costs and difficulties. In the golden hour, rescue as much lives as they can, and so far has been dispatch more than 6000 military in the disaster area. Based on the rescue experiences in Wenchuan earthquake 2008, the rescue teams now have more tools and methods to seek and save the wounded. But due to the geographic position of Ya’an, many teams any other rescue personnel are stuck outside, and walking is the only way to entry until solve the traffic. Chinese authority also issues that search every building and every corner in order to save the wounded.
    Personally, the local rescue teams are require to understand the efficient methods of saving people,and also purchase qualified and advanced tools to rescue. It is also a challenge for the hospital that regardless other patients, there will be an increasing number of injured people need medical care and food and water. There are lots of injured people living in the street and tents, the good news is that they are fully cared and have enough food and supply. Moreover, it is suggested that volunteers, non-professional rescue team should not going to the disaster area, it has to be clear that give the best time and efficiency to the professions, therefore the number of injured may decrease and more lifes can be saved.
    Another issue is being re-building the disaster area, people got no where to live, houses farms and land are distroried, students still need schooling, people need work to support their family, and the death need to be managed decently, and other related issues such as prevention of earthquake, medical care etc.
    At last, I suggest that if you have the ability to contribute to the earthquake, please give your help and donation, the people need your help, and your help will give them hope and better future.

    • pcm1c12 April 23, 2013 at 9:14 am #

      Your last point about contributing with donations, brings us to another discussion. While media continues urging people to donate for victims of the Sichuan earthquake, people start wondering if all the donations really end up contributing the effects of the earthquake.
      China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs has already asked charity groups, regulating donations for the earthquake, to be transparent and under social supervision. Also they advocate people to donate through legally registered charity groups. The government tries to make sure the donations end up at the right place, but according to Beijing News commentator Wei Wei far more needs to be done to allay public fears that funds may be embezzled.
      Also, public opinion is paying very much attention on who’s donating what. Especially major organizations are put under the microscope and apparently those organizations react to this. A good example are the donations of Samsung. After Apple pledged to donate 50 million yuan and free electronics to the earthquake zone, Samsung ‘went over it’ donating 60 million yuan and pledged to set up free phone-repair centres and offering free mobile phone rental services. It’s just ironical to see how those two huge rivaling companies are, even in the amount of charity donations, trying to play off each other.

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