Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Taiwan Disaster Numerical Comparisons

Popular opinion continues to be that the Morakot “88 水災”water calamity which occurred over the Chinese Father’s Day weekend is worse in scope than the infamous 921 Earthquake.* This grieves not only the hearts of the people of Taiwan, but also the heart of God, especially as it becomes more and more apparent that certain aspects of this disaster may have been man-made and not so-called acts of God.

To compare some numbers, one week and two days after the typhoon, the official death toll from landslides and flooding is 107 with 307 missing (and the number of dead could surpass 500). Damage is upwards of US$130 million in crop damage alone.

The 921 Earthquake Sept 21, 1999 in comparison killed 2,416 with 11,433 injured, 44,338 houses completely destroyed, 41,336 houses severely damaged, and NT$300 billion (US$9.2 billion) worth of damage.

But there are equally tragic tales which are not told as often. For example, Taiwan has one of the highest worldwide suicide rates per capita with one about every 2 hours, mostly among unemployed men, a rate falling short of that in Japan (one suicide every 15 minutes) and perhaps one or two other countries.

Finally, in Taiwan (total population 22,900,000) every year there are approximately 30,000 abortions among women 20 years and under (as reported in this 2002 news post  and elsewhere). An abortion is performed every 45 seconds, leading to the establishment of temples in the last 20 years specifically designed to worship and appease the souls of dead infants.

In conclusion, our heavenly Father mourns for all the different kinds of losses above! Let us remember to mourn them as well.

*88 stands for August 8; which in Mandarin Chinese sounds like the word for “Papa”. Hence 8-8 is celebrated as Father’s Day here).

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