China’s storm response: Too good to be true – Howard W. French

From A Glimpse of the World blog:

XI’AO, China Where as many as 10,000 fishing boats once docked, today only a few bob in a long, serpentine harbor here still flecked with wrecks. All along the shoreline, families that only recently made a rich living from the sea, stare glumly at reminders of their loss.

Clearly, this fishing village and others near the mouth of a bay on China’s southeast coast suffered catastrophic damage when Typhoon Saomai blew through on the afternoon of Aug. 10, a Category 4 storm packing sustained winds of 240 kilometers, or 150 miles, per hour. Yet the following day, initial reports listed only 17 people dead and 138 missing in all of Fujian Province.

The emergency response was trumpeted as a triumph. By noon that day, according to news reports distributed nationwide, over 500,000 people had been evacuated, and 5 million others had been alerted to the impending danger through short messages sent to cellphone users. [Full Text]

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