China Earthquake, Florida Fires, US Tornadoes, Burma Cyclone Ravage The Angry Earth


China Earthquake:
The AP is reporting today on another major school collapse triggered by the 7.9 magnitude earthquake that struck China Monday. This collapse has buried an additional 1,000 students and teachers. AP also reports that Chinese authorities have raised the death toll to nearly 12,000 and say that over 18,000 are missing.

Chinese state media is reporting that another 1,000 students and teachers are dead or missing after a massive earthquake crushed a high school.

The official Xinhua News Agency said Tuesday that the school collapsed in Beichuan county, just east of the epicenter of Monday's 7.9-magnitude earthquake.

Florida Wildfires: CNN reports that Gov. Charlie Crist has declared a state of emergency in Florida:

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist declared a state of emergency Monday as wildfires fed by drought conditions threatened homes and businesses and forced the closing of part of Interstate 95 in Brevard County.

Seven to 10 structures, including some homes, have been destroyed by the largest of the fires, said Yvonne Martinez of the Palm Bay Fire Department.

"The fire situation has been very unpredictable," she said. "The winds have basically caused what fires we had yesterday to jump a half a mile at a time."

Burma Cyclone: HuffPost contributor Hanna Ingber Win reported that local corruption was hampering recovery efforts in Burma:

In the midst of a massive humanitarian crisis in Burma in which 1.5 million people are at risk of dying from disease, local government officials in Rangoon have been selling aid and bribing residents in order to turn a profit, according to sources in Rangoon. It has been eight days since Cyclone Nargis wiped out entire villages along the Irrawaddy delta and left Rangoon in shambles, but the ruling junta has prevented relief efforts from barely making a dent in the recovery process.

Government officials have stolen donations of rice, cooking oil and diesel and sold them on the black market, a businessman in Rangoon said on Sunday. In several townships around the major city, the government announced that it would provide a certain amount of rice and cooking oil to each household, but local township officers were found refusing families their quotas and instead selling the goods on the black market.

US Tornadoes: The AP reported that 22 people were killed in tornadoes that swept across the central U.S.:

More than a third of the 22 people killed by a tornado that smashed parts of Oklahoma and Missouri over the weekend died in cars, troubling experts who say vehicles are one of the worst places to be during a twister.

"It's like taking a handful of Matchbox cars and rolling them across the kitchen floor," said Sgt. Dan Bracker of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, surveying the damage in and around Seneca, near the Oklahoma line, the hardest hit area. "This is devastating."

Among those killed were three people in Oklahoma who were rushing to reach a relative's house in their car; a woman whose car was blown off a road near Seneca; and four family members _ Rick Rountree, his wife, his 13-year-old son, and his mother-in-law _ who were in a van on the way to a friend's wedding when a twister packing winds of 170 mph struck the Seneca area on Saturday night.