A devastating 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit China's Sichuan province this Monday at around 2:30 p.m. local time, killing ten thousands of people in Sichuan, Shaanxi, Gansu, Chongqing, and Yunnan. As we post the death toll numbers are still rising. Please refer to http://shanghaiist.com/tags/earthquake2008 for continuous updates.
The epicenter was about 100 kilometers northwest of Chengdu, a city of 3.75 million, and struck the area in the middle of the afternoon when classrooms and office towers were full. The quake was so powerful it even left buildings in Beijing and Shanghai swaying for several minutes and some office buildings were even evacuated.
Web2Asia's staff did not feel any of the shocks in their 20th floor Shanghai office but was informed through microblogging service Twitter, by a post from Keso, the best-known IT blogger in China, only minutes after the quake occurred. Twitter proved to be a platform which can bring faster coverage of major news events than traditional media. However, the tweets from Western Twitteres in Chengdu reporting no casualties soon were replaced by dreadful reports from official institutions indicating thousands of victims in smaller cities and villages closer to the epicenter.
The Red Cross Society of China (RCSC) has set up a bank account for donations that will go directly to help the victims.
For those of us within China:
||ICBC Beijing Municipal Branch, Dong Si Nan Sub-Branch|
|Address:||No.147 Dongsi South St., Beijing 100010, China|
|Name:||China CITIC Bank, Beijing Jiuxianqiao Sub-Branch|
C&W Tower No. 14, Jiuxianqio Street, Beijing 100016, China
In addition, users of China Mobile can donate via short message by sending a number from 1 to 30 to the phone number 10699988 to donate an amount from RMB 1 to RMB 30. The donation will be deducted from you phone bill or prepaid card.
For those donating from overseas:
You can directly deposit US dollars to the USD account at the China CITIC bank. However, for people outside China it might be more convenient to donate directly to the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in their home countries - many national societies have already set up accounts for donations. For a list of the national societies websites please click here.
For more information on how to help and donate please visit the RCSC homepage.