CHONGQING, China - One of the worst earthquakes in decades struck central China on Monday, killing nearly 9,000 people, trapping about 900 students under the rubble of their school and causing a toxic chemical leak, state media reported.
The 7.8-magnitude earthquake devastated a hilly region of small cities and towns in Sichuan and nearby provinces. The official Xinhua News Agency said 8,533 people died in Sichuan alone and dozens of other deaths were reported in surrounding areas.
Xinhua said 80 percent of the buildings had collapsed in Beichuan county in Sichuan province after the quake, raising fears the overall death toll could increase sharply.
The bottom of the article also stated:
“China’s deadliest earthquake in modern history struck the northeastern city of Tangshan on July 28, 1976, killing 240,000 people.”
So why are deaths in the China countryside and small towns so high? Is it because of the way their buildings are built? But I canno be sure that is the reason, I recently read a book of Chinese architecture, and one thing it pointed out was that all the unique features we see in Chinese buildings are there mostly as ways of helping buildings in earthquakes… in fact, the great forbidden city in Beijing has never needed repairs because of earthquakes ever since it was built, so the high death rate puzzles me.