"“We have lent a huge amount of money to the U.S. Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I am definitely a little worried.” "

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao 12th March 2009

""We have a financial system that is run by private shareholders, managed by private institutions, and we'd like to do our best to preserve that system."

Timothy Geithner US Secretary of the Treasury, previously President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.1/3/2009

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Massive newly constructed bridge collapses in China , 23 dead and 23 missing - Amazing pictures

Bridges falling apart are in the news - a 40 year old 8 lane highway in Minnesota across the Mississipi and now a newly constructed bridge in China - not that you will have seen much published in the UK or US about it - Google News produces a single well informed AP article in the Guradian yesterday.

The four-arch Tuojiang River bridge was under construction to link Fenghuang City (means Phoenix)***,Hunan, a popular tourist spot (hometown of Xiong Xiling, first premier of the Republic of China), with Daxing airport in Tongren city, neighboring Guizhou Province. Construction began in March 2004 and had been scheduled to open to traffic at the end of the month.

The 328-meter-long, 42-meter-high bridge collapsed on Monday afternoon 13th August at 4.40pm local time when an estimated 123 workers were dismantling steel scaffolding.

64 workers escaped 22 are still in hospital receiving treatment for their injuries, there are 23 known dead and 23 still missing.

In Fenghuang Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital, three seriously injured workers are no longer described as critical after emergency treatment, according to hospital sources. Seventeen workers are receiving treatment in the hospital.

The contract for 12 million yuan (1.6 million U.S. dollars), belongs to Fengda company based in Tujia and Miao Autonomous Prefecture in western Hunan, with the contractor of the provincial Road and Bridge Construction (Group) Ltd. Co. (RBC). Police have detained Xia Youjia, a construction manager, and Jiang Ping, a project supervisor. All technical data about the bridge and financial accounts of the companies involved have been sealed for examination.

Premier Wen Jiabao toldlocal governments and government departments to "determine the cause of the collapse and severely punish those responsible". China's State Councilor Hua Jianmian Tuesday ordered an immediate investigation into the cause of the bridge collapse and was accompanied by Hunan's Communist Party chief Zhang Chunxian and governor Zhou Qiang
More than 1,500 rescuers are still searching the debris, but medical workers said there was little chance of finding survivors.

A 9 member team of experts has arrived at the site to take samples from the rubble so as to determine whether the bridge had quality problems.

Meanwhile, an investigation team under the State Council was established. The team, headed by Li Yizhong, director of the State Administration of Work Safety, consisted of officials from the communications, construction, health and supervision ministries.

The collapse also affected water supplies to about 700,000 residents in Fenghuang as the pipes of the local water plant were broken by the falling debris. The supply resumed on Wednesday afternoon.

Environmental concerns

A local official at the scene claimed that a "traditional and risky" type of bridge, made of stone and concrete, had been chosen over a steel structure to ensure "it remained in harmony with the natural environment".

In 2004 the Tuojing River was seriously polluted by a large amount of wastewater containing high-concentration ammonia and nitrogen was discharged directly outside the Sichuan Chemical Co. Ltd No 2 Chemical Fertilizer Plant ; the sewage entered Tuojiang River through its tributary Pi River and polluted the water seriously. The river fees into the Yangtse river.

1 /2 Mn Kilos of dead fish were found and nearly one million people had suffered from a 25-day break of drinking water supply and aquatic eco-environment of Tuojiang River underwent massive damage.

Sichuan Chemical Co. Ltd. was fined one million yuan penalty , and pre-compensated the fishery industry for the losses up to 11,798 million yuan. People liable for the accident underwent proper punishments by Sichuan Provincial government.

***Outside the Northern Gate of Fenghuang is Huxiao Shoal. Here, a narrow 100-meter-long wooden bridge supported by 15 stone blocks spans the Tuojiang River. This used to be the city's only exit, called the "Jumping Rock" by the local people. The bridge is so narrow that it must be crossed in single file. If two people cross the bridge from opposite directions, they must carefully turn and walk sideways.

The Southern Great Wall built in the Ming Dynasty is 10 kilometers away from Fenghuang City, and takes about half an hour to reach by bus. Discovered in 2000 it was built on similiar plans to the Great Wall to defend the kingdom against the Miao people of the south.

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