One thing that is constant around the world is the occurrence of natural disasters. Every occurrence, thousands or millions of peoples lives are affected. Many die. Many are left homeless. Many are seriously injured. Many are permanently handicapped. Still, many are left without a child or a parent. Our world is full of disasters, and China has unfortunately had a large share. Below is a listing of the top ten natural disasters around the world:
|Rank||Event||Location||Death Toll (Estimate)|
|1||1931 China floods||China||1,000,000 to 2,500,000|
|2||1887 Yellow River flood||China||900,000 to 2,000,000|
|3||1556 Shaanxi earthquake||Shaanxi, China||830,000|
|4||1970 Bhola cyclone||Bangladesh||500,000|
|5||1839 India Cyclone||India||300,000|
|6||526 Antioch earthquake||Byzantine (Turkey)||250,000 to 300,000|
|7||1976 Tangshan earthquake||Hebei, China||242,419|
|8||1920 Haiyuan earthquake||China||234,117|
|9||2004 Indonesian Tsunami||Southeast Asia||230,210|
|10||2010 Haiti earthquake||Haiti||230,000|
The May 12, 2008 Richter scale 8.0 Sichuan earthquake with 85,000+ deaths didn’t even make this list. Given China’s huge population throughout her history, we’d expect China to be on it. Still, half of the top ten were in China. Predicting earthquake and controlling flood were common themes throughout Chinese history. We simply hope that China continues to develop so that the population have the means to better withstand future natural disasters. (Western media constantly criticize China’s Three Gorges Dam project, but they purposely avoid explaining control flood as one of the primary reasons.)
Only a couple of months ago, an earthquake hit Haiti, killing 230,000 people. On April 14, 2010, a Richter scale 7.1 earthquake hit China’s Qinghai province, killing 2,000+ people. These are recent reminders of the constant nature of natural disasters.
During times of disaster, we also see perseverance and outpouring of humanity from all elements of society. (Allen’s translation: “Chinese Humanitarian Chen Guang Biao and Fellow Air Travellers Donate to Earthquake Victims“) We see love and compassion expressed across national borders. The very least we can do is to encourage that.
The purpose of this post is to remind ourselves that natural disasters are a constant around the world. On the whole, China is still an extremely poor country. Infrastructure has not caught up to a point where the population is well protected from natural disasters. For example, the destruction of homes in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake left so many people dead. The purpose of this post is also to collect links to charity organizations who make it their purpose in life to help funnel aid to the victims and survivors of natural disasters in China.
(Over time we plan to add more links, especially those organizations who are more directly funneling assistance to people in China.)
We urge you to assist these organizations in helping those victims in getting back on their feet. Even small amounts are grand gestures and can be uplifting.
Red Cross Society of China
China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation
China Emergency Rescue Alliance