[20.08.14. The following extract is from an entry I posted on the 27th of May 2008, but because that was mostly about pinyin, I transferred this section to this post. The original entry is below.]
Some ill-informed observations with respect to Chengdu.
The current post-quake issue here is the risk posed by flooding when the lakes formed by landslides might rupture the earth damming them. It’s been reported that the army is trying to do something about this to prevent flooding from adding to a catastrophe that’s probably going to cost at least 80,000 lives.
I was having a look at my copy of 成都地图册 last night. There are a couple of maps at the front of the book which show the city and its surrounding districts, which include Dujiangyan. Although one’s a district map and the other’s a travel map, they both have detailed information about the river system. Basically, across this area, most of the waterways fan out from Dujiangyan. I don’t know whether any of the dams are up beyond the town, but if there are any and they were to burst, I suspect that the irrigation system across this part of Sichuan would absorb the water, and the risk of flooding here in Chengdu is fairly low. In other words, areas local to these bodies of water are in far greater danger.
Besides, the 锦江 would have to rise about three or four metres before it’d even start spilling over the banks locally, and the greater threat to Chengdu would be the loss of its water supply. At least here in town we’ve had none of the rain that was being forecast as a potential exacerbation, but that’s not to say it hasn’t been raining up in the hills.
Those earthquake rumours in full.
Class 6 banged on about the imminence of another quake this afternoon, to which I paid little attention. Anyway, we got out of class and heard that school was officially at an end because of some earthquake rumour. You’d think they might have the decency to close the school immediately after lunch, thus sparing me wasting my life on two classes who deserve not a minute of my time.
Anyway, the usual committee was sitting around at the gate to the compound when I got back here. I don’t have any details about the where or when of the quake. I wouldn’t be surprised if the answers were “somewhere” and “some time”.
We did have a brief tremor yesterday, but the optimal word is “brevity”.
Meanwhile, I see Sharon Stone has annoyed the Chinese with some dumb remarks about the quake. From a rational perspective, she’s talking a bunch of bollocks. Earthquakes are just like other natural phenomena: they happen without the slightest regard for human affairs.