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China Red Cross Blasted For Sending Quilts to Tropical Typhoon-Ravaged Areas

Posted: 07/22/2014 8:51 am

The China Red Cross, a charity organisation, has found itself again engulfed in a sea of criticism after it sent more than 2,000 winter quilts to typhoon-ravaged areas in Guangdong, at a time when local temperatures are higher than 35 Celsius degrees in the heat of summer.

The civic group’s quilts drew a lot of criticism online despite its swift response to the disaster. “Its efforts, manpower and resources were used in the wrong places,” Xinhua said. When thousands of quilts reached Zhanjiang, Maoming and Yangjiang after super typhoon Ramassun swept across the region last week, they needed to be picked up and distributed. Xinhua argued this was a waste of resources, especially for the trucks that distributed the blankets and the manpower involved. These resources could otherwise have been allocated to much more badly needed relief supplies such as drinking water, food, sleeping mats, first-aid kits and medicine, the report said.

Officials from Zhanjiang said the electricity and water supply in several counties in the city were disrupted, but they received cotton quilts. The China Red Cross in Guangdong defended its decision to send quilts, saying they were demanded and will be useful in winter.

Still, this doesn’t sit well with online users. “Next time, send a Maserati; it might help us run faster in the face of disaster,” said Weibo user 短线追击手.

Some simply doubted the motives behind the Red Cross’s help, whose reputation was badly tainted by the Guo Meimei incident in 2011. 朦胧君 wrote: “I am from western Guangdong and have been living here for more than two decades. Do not treat our tragedy as a time for you to show your phony benevolence.”

Photos: Sina weibo; Ta Kung Pao


Rising Ocean Levels Could Submerge Guangzhou By 2050

Posted: 07/16/2014 10:30 am
guangdong flooding rain guangzhou

A city in Guangdong after floods in 2012.

At a time when Guangzhou is bracing for typhoon Rammasun to “cause severe damage” later this week, future flooding disasters are predicted for Guangzhou that could see the city completely submerged by 2050, reported Guangzhou Daily.

Typhoon Rammasun is approaching the Philippines with gusts of 30 meters per second. On Tuesday morning, the typhoon was located 180 kilometers east of Luzon’s coastal city of Legazpi. When it arrives, the typhoon is expected to bring about torrential rains and storms in Guangdong’s southern, central and northern regions.

World Bank economist Stephane Hallegatte wrote in a paper published last year that Guangzhou will suffer high financial losses from flooding at a rate of $13.2 billion a year by 2050. The findings were refuted by experts from China’s State Oceanic Administration, who argued “not all full findings could be taken seriously”. On the other hand, they admitted that Guangdong’s sea level has been rising at its fastest rate for the past 20 years. The speed is 1.7-times higher than the global trend over the last 100 years.

guangdong flooding rain guangzhou

About 13% of the Pearl River Delta is located below sea level. In 50 years, Guangdong’s sea level is expected to further rise 27.5 cm, causing floods and typhoons. The Pearl River Delta could face up to RMB 262.5 billion in financial losses each year if its sea level rises another 100 centimeters, the administration said.

What has made the province’s flooding worse is that most dykes and levies along the Pearl River are not strong enough to face destructive floods, the newspaper said, citing experts from the administration.

The immediate solution is to build up flood reinforcements that could sustain a once-in-a-200-years flood. However, many bridges in Guangzhou that were built in the last century, like the Tianhe Bridge, could only survive a once-in-a-20-years flood.

Photos:; Xinhua


Two Dead, One Missing as Dongguan Teens Swept Away by Floodwaters

Posted: 05/14/2014 10:28 am

tangxia youth drowning dongguan rain disasterThe flood-stricken area of Tangxia County, Dongguan is the fatal scene where three youths were swept away in a flooded creek swollen with rainwater, leaving two dead and one missing, reports Nandu.

At approximately 5pm on May 11, eight young adults were crossing a flooded creek together by linking arms near the City Ring Road West at Keyuan Station when three of them were suddenly swept away by the strong current.

Lao Huagui, one of the people that attempted to cross the creek, recalls the incident:

“The water reached up to my waist,” said Lao, who stands at 1.7 meters tall. “We were all walking in the middle of the street, when all of a sudden a great current rushed in from the right side, and the water surged up. With that, the floodwater submerged the shortest one of us, He Sihan. The eight of us then became scattered.”

READ: Dongguan Flood Disaster to Cost Local Economy
RMB 55 Million [PICTORIAL]

Lao Hanzhou gives a different account:

At that time, the creek [was so high it] submerged both ends of the railings of the bridge. Seeing that He Sihan was caught up by the current, Liu Dejin and Cai Jiahong both hurried to grab He out of the water, but they weren’t able to catch him. Both of them were also washed away by the current.

The other five remaining people were able to extract themselves from the flooded creek by managing to hold onto trees at the side, or by climbing the surrounding walls of the embankment.

By noon of May 12, the floodwater had subsided. At that time, two bodies were found.

Dead are Liu Dejin and Cai Jiahong. The third victim swept away by the flooded creek, He Sihan, has still not been found.

The victims were well acquainted with one another. He and Cai were cousins, while Liu and Cai were classmates.


Photos: Nandu


5 dead, 4 missing after a storm and severe flood in northern Guangdong

Posted: 05/16/2013 4:44 pm

Five people are dead and four are missing after a storm in northern Guangdong Province’s Fogang County that raged throughout last night and this morning, Guangzhou Daily reports on its microblog.

Around 10,000 people have been affected by the subsequent flooding and some houses are completely under water.

It has also caused a long backup on the no.106 national highway.

Of the people killed, three were in Shijiao Village and two were in Shuitou Village. Most of them were in their 80s.

At the same time, four people were killed by a storm in Xiamen in neighbouring Fujian Province as miserable weather continues to plague the south.

Some images of the flooding, courtesy of Sina Weibo


The Spin Doctor – PJ Harvey, Let England Shake

Posted: 02/25/2011 8:40 am

PJ Harvey – “Let England Shake” (Vagrant/Island Def Jam)

4.2 out of 5

A friend of mine asked me the other day what record I was reviewing this week. When I told him PJ Harvey’s Let England Shake, he replied: “PJ Harvey; she’s still around?” A fair question I suppose. Other than the 2009 John Parish collaboration, A Woman a Man Walked By, in which Parish wrote all of the music and played most of the instruments, Harvey hasn’t released any new material since 2007’s White Chalk. Following rumours of retirement, I began to wonder if I would ever again hear that snarl and deft songwriting that I have loved so much since Harvey’s 1992 debut, Dry. I’m therefore happy to report that not only is Harvey back, she’s back in fine form.

Recorded in a converted church overlooking the Dorset coast of Southwestern England, Let England Shake is simultaneously the most beautiful and raucous album Harvey has produced since 2000’s Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea. As the title not so subtly suggests (subtlety has never been Harvey’s strong suit), there is a political current running throughout the record. Often literal, often literary allusion, Harvey has crafted a record as lovely as the English countryside and as tumultuous as the country’s rich history.

The record opens with Let England Shake, a mid-tempo, jazz infused number. Despite the boppy, up-beat nature of the instrumentation, the opening lyrics are anything but: “The West’s asleep. Let England shake, weighted down with silent dead. I fear our blood won’t rise again.” Yikes. And just in case you think the opening track is a one-off, Harvey clarifies the record’s intention on the following track, The Last Living Rose. The song opens with nothing but Harvey’s electric guitar and bass drum before swelling into a beautiful tenor sax solo: “Goddamn Europeans! Take me back to beautiful England. And the grey damp filthiness of ages.” This essentially sets the tone for the record.

Let England Shake is both a damning of England’s militaristic past while expressing uncertainty of its future. Harvey clearly wants to agitate the agitators into agitating what was once a mighty empire. As a result, the lyrics are often graphic and harsh, taking no prisoners. This is no more apparent than on first single, The Words That Maketh Murder, where Harvey spews disturbing imagery: “I’ve seen soldiers fall like lumps of meat, blown and shot out beyond belief. Arms and legs were in the trees.” Before you can catch your breath, she coyly drops the stunning piano and slide guitar infused coda, borrowing Eddie Cochran’s popular refrain: “What if I take my problem to the United Nations?”

Politics aside, Let England Shake aptly demonstrates Harvey’s ability to write gorgeous melodies juxtaposed with razor sharp lyrics. Experiencing Let England Shake is like someone telling you they love you and then immediately slapping you across the face: you’re too busy processing the former to contemplate the sheer force of the latter. As a result, Let England Shake requires a few listens to even scratch the surface.

Aside from the audacity of the lyrical content, what I enjoyed most about Let England Shake is what remains the strongest element in Harvey’s arsenal: her voice. Though mostly sung in her upper-register, the versatility she employs here is staggering. Whether being pretty (Hanging In The Wire), vicious (Bitter Branches), or outright angelic (On Battleship Hill), Harvey’s vocals sit perfectly in the mix, open to all of the praise and scrutiny they have always garnered. This is also a credit to the producers (John Parish, PJ Harvey, Flood, and Mick Harvey), who ensure that regardless of the tone Harvey takes vocally, the lyrical punch doesn’t get lost in the mix. My only gripe is Written On The Forehead in which Harvey’s vocals are unnecessary processed and take away from what is otherwise an engaging track.

Though an unabashedly English record, one does not need to be English to appreciate Let England Shake. In the hands of a lesser songwriter, perhaps that would have been the case. Harvey however is too good and too socially aware to let the narrative get away from the music. As a result, she has crafted a triumphant return and given us a record that can be enjoyed regardless of what side of the Atlantic you might be listening from.

Read previous Spin Doctor reviews here

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