17 May 2008
Some information is now becoming available about the impact of landslides in Beichuan. I have blogged before about this. However, a report in the Chinese Economic Observer online is now beginning to highlight just how bad the problem actually has been. This report states the following:
In fact, landslides triggered by the May 12 earthquake had exacerbated the destruction in Beichuan. Take Maoba Middle School for instance, all traces of its existence – save a basketball hoop in the far end of a field – had “vanished” under fallen boulders from the hills. Of the 400 or more students and teachers there, merely one to two percent survived. What’s more disturbing was that the landslide had blocked the flows of the White River, creating an artificial lake in its upstream, near the Kuzhuba hydrolic dam. If the water pressure built up and threatened to burst the dam, the cost of life and property would be dreadful. The risks involved had added urgency and hazards to the rescue work that was racing against time.
The Taiwanese Formosat-2 satellite has collected an image that shows this landslide. This is shown below, annotated to show the landslide: