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JISHOU, HUNAN — The earthquake this week in China was in the western part of the country, in Qinghai Province, so it was nowhere near here. We never felt a thing.

The quake hit near a town of 70,000, in Yushu county, near the Sichuan provincial line and 800 km from the site of the horrible Wenchuan earthquake in 2008, as you can see from this map, copyright the BBC.


Hunan, where I live, is just east of Sichuan. China’s provinces are big, like Canada’s, so the apparent proximity translates into thousands of kilometers. Even so, my friends here say they could feel the ground heave when the 7.8 magnitude quake hit Wenchuan in 2008.

Wednesday’s quake was 6.9 on the magnitude scale, bad enough, but not as powerful as the 2008 one. Deaths are estimated at 589 now, and about 10,000 more are injured. Yushu is a rural area, and most folks do not live in the ubiquitous concrete-block homes. Most injuries are from wooden structures collapsing. I have not heard yet whether children going to school that morning may have been inside their concrete schools.

Stay tuned. I’ll try to give more details later.