Paging Tom Friedman: Another Example of China’s Awesome Infrastructure

by Greg Pollowitz

Maybe if they spent less on high-speed choo-choos, windmills, and solar panels . . .

An earthquake toppled more than 1,000 houses and apartment buildings in China’s southwest near the border with Myanmar on Thursday, killing at least 24 people and injuring more than 200, officials and state media said.

Photos from the scene showed buildings that buckled, crushing their lower floors. Police, firefighters and soldiers rushed to the area to pull out people trapped in the rubble, including a man and girl stuck in the stairwell of a four-story building, according to state broadcaster China Central Television.

Parts of a supermarket and a hotel caved in, while sidewalks were lined with injured on blankets, being shielded from the sun by large vendor umbrellas.

The official Xinhua News Agency reported that 24 people had been killed, including four students, citing the Yingjiang county government in Yunnan province. Another 207 people were injured, 33 of them in critical condition.

The website of the Chinese government earthquake monitoring station said the magnitude-5.8 quake was centered in Yingjiang and struck just before 1 p.m. local time at a depth of six miles. The U.S. Geological Survey measured the quake at a magnitude of 5.4 and at a deeper 21 miles.

Some 1,200 houses or apartments were crushed by the quake, said Zhao Yunshan, director of Yingjiang government press office. More than 127,000 people have been evacuated to nearby shelters, Xinhua reported, citing the Civil Affairs Ministry.