Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Sichuan, quake shakes faith in school construction

This is the latest picture that I found in chinese newspaper. This picture is about the lousy construction in Sichuan.

Part of a school building remains standing in the earthquake-affected Yingxiu town in Wenchuan county, Sichuan province

A schoolbag is seen next to the remains of a student victim who was killed when a school collapsed

"If this was a decent building, my daughter wouldn't have died," said Li Yan, holding a handful of dusty rubble.

I was quite disappointed when I'm reading this news. This kind of construction sacrify 200 innocent children in a primary school in Sichuan province.

This is a report from CNN:
Brian Tucker, a seismologist with the California nonprofit Geohazards International, said a civil engineer in China told him that the country has no centralized, uniform code for earthquake-resistant public buildings such as schools or hospitals. The size of the fallen beams and columns pictured in video of the disaster appear inadequate to the task, he said.

Thin, bendable wire is the only evidence of rebar, the material that holds concrete structures together. Generally speaking, the less steel in a concrete building, the less strength it has to withstand movement.

"Some of the columns that are broken have exposed rebar that is not tied together essentially with horizontal bands, which makes sure the rebar stays attached to each other and to the concrete," Tucker said.

Reginald DesRoches, a civil engineering professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, said the collapse of schools was surprising, since they typically are built to tougher standards.

But he said many of the buildings that fell were built before 1976, when an earthquake that killed 250,000 people spurred Chinese authorities to require earthquake-resistant construction for many buildings.

According to China's state-run media, government officials have promised to find out why nearly 7,000 school buildings collapsed during last Monday's earthquake, which measured between 7.9 and 8.0 in magnitude.

A spokesman for the Chinese Embassy in Washington said Friday that, based on what he has heard, the quality of construction in the earthquake zone exceeded the nation's building standards for southwestern China, given the strength of the hit.

However, Wang Baodong added that "relevant investigations will be conducted at the appropriate time."

Wrenching scenes of survivors being dug out of collapsed schools and apartments after the May 12 earthquake suggest widespread disregard for building codes in the rapidly urbanizing region, according to several civil engineers who spoke to CNN.

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