There was a major earthquake two days ago in Sichuan, yet only now news is coming out about the tragedy. At least about humans – all the articles about the panda base say there has been no communication with the Wolong Panda Base.
Given that the Wolong Panda Base is of national importance to China, I find it surprising they do not have a satellite phone or some other method that would work after a natural disaster such as this.
Unfortunately, I am willing to bet the construction quality of buildings in the panda reserve will be the same as in other places. Not to mention most buildings I have seen in China are made of bricks and low grade concrete, not the kind of building materials that last long in an earthquake.
Perhaps from this two good things will happen – a chemical factory that would cause huge environmental harm will not get built in Chengdu, and buildings will begin to be designed to withstand earthquakes.
Hopefully pandas were away from the buildings at Wolong when the earthquake struck, and not near one of the moats in the panda playground either.
Update 2008/5/14: The pandas at Wolong are apparently fine, according to somebody with a satellite phone there. The roads out have been completely destroyed though…