Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Mega Typhoon Targets China's Money City & Soccer

Aimed straight at the source of much of China's financial dealings is Typhoon Wipha. Boats are being anchored and mass evacuations are happening. Shanghai is bracing for a typhoon, which rivals an even more powerful August storm which killed 436 and was named the worst typhoon in the last fifty years. There is not much time left before the onset of the storm which is also causing a few tremors in the Chinese markets. Taiwan dodged the winds leaving Typhoon Wipha an unobstructed straight shot at Shanghai. (photo Mark Ralston/AFP Getty Images)

Shanghai is a vertical city with some of the world's tallest skyscrapers with millions of people living virtually atop one another. There is no spare space and everyone affected is urged to leave which creates chaos as the storm approaches. The city is home to the wheelers and dealers in the financial district with many companies occupying the urban sprawl. Typhoon Wipha has the power to be destructive on multiple levels.

About 200,000 people living in exposed areas in Shanghai, bordering Zhejiang in the north and with a population of over 14 million, would be moved to temporary shelter before evening.

Tens of thousands of boats and ships had returned to harbour in Zhejiang, where beach resorts and sea farms were evacuated and ferry services suspended, state media said.

"Wipha will hit our province head on and the areas affected would be the most economically developed and densely populated," the Zhejiang provincial government warned.
Getting your mind around evacuating, even partially, a city with 14,000,000 people and the amount of infrastructure involved demonstrates the vastness of China. Shanghai is only 1 of multiple cities in China with a population that size. Now, it is under direct threat from a late season typhoon. China needs sophisticated emergency planning on a scale not appreciated by the rest of the world. India is the other nation with over a billion people and in 2005 refused international assistance in the tragic aftermath of the 2004 Tsunami.

Even the impending drama of the typhoon, is not stopping the much anticipated soccer match between the top-rated United States and Nigeria female teams. The monster storm is expected to roar into Shanghai by midnight. It is hard to imagine a love of football/soccer so deep that a tremendous amount of strategizing World Cup venues went into keeping the tournament going while accommodating Wipha, who graciously will only disrupt the Shanghai games. The soccer world does not stop for a typhoon.

The disrupted football matches are crucial to deciding which teams qualify for the quarter-finals in the women's World Cup tournament, which is being played in five Chinese cities.

Moving the matches means that Brazil - who are almost certain to qualify from Group D - and potential qualifiers Denmark will have one fewer rest day before they have to play a quarter-final game on the weekend.

Norway, currently second in their group, face the added disruption of having their match relocated. Ghana cannot qualify for the last eight.

North Korea's game against Sweden in Chengdu city today, Australia v Canada tomorrow in Chengdu, and China against New Zealand in Tianjin city remain unchanged, as their venues are not in the typhoon's path.

In honor of blitheness, the book is focused on female football (soccer) for the rest of the world. My favorite female soccer film is Bend It Like Beckham.

US soccer star, Mia Hamm, is the interesting subject of many good biographies. Mia Hamm authored Winners Never Quit.

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