Last week we posted about a coal mine fire in east Shandong province that trapped 36 miners underground in a mine owned by Zaozhuang Fangbei Coal Mine Co. Ltd. In more recent news, 24 miners remain trapped with little hope of a successful rescue.
After freeing 63 survivors, the situation of the rescue mission deteriorated rapidly. The remaining 24 have remained unreachable and temperatures in the mine have been reaching as high as “60 degrees Celsius on Friday and exceeded 80 degrees in some areas.” The heat even claimed the lives of three rescuers.
In the autonomous region of Guangxi, spirits lifted when two miners were successfully rescued after being underground since July 2nd. After days of heavy rain, the Guangxi mine collapsed, instantly claiming eight lives. Both survivors are now in stable condition, but rescue workers say that the eight remaining miners stand little chance. According to The Shanghai Daily, “rescuers have been offered 2 million yuan (US$309,406) for each miner they pull out alive.”
A flooded mine in Weifang city of Shangdong holds another 21 miners who have been trapped since Sunday. A rescue team in Guizhou provnce is still struggling to save 23 miners in a mine that flooded Saturday.
Dangerous mines in China are not a new phenomenon. On average, six miners a day died in 2010 according to government reports. The government has issued campaigns to create safer mines, better rescue systems, and more stringent qualifications to acquire operation permits.
Seeing as how all these mines had approved operation permits and the urgency of the government to rescue as many workers as possible, this is just another sad reminder about how far China has left to bridge the gap between making rules and enforcing them.
By Fotini Gan
Image from AFP