The participating countries this year included Russia, Turkey, Japan, Australia, Indonesia, and Taiwan. The two-day conference was filled with lots of activities. The students each gave 7-9 minute presentations on their region's natural disasters, participated in a video conference with other NDYS teams around the world, and visited Nantou & Jiji, the places struck by the September 21, 1999 earthquake (the picture to the left is a piece of the Earth's crust where distinct layers in the Chenglongpu fault line are visible). The students also discussed with each other their different cultures, lifestyles, and education systems. I think NDYS is a really rich experience for these students and I wish I could have had something like this back in the United States. Perhaps when I go back to the U.S., I can do something similar to NDYS.
The September 21, 1999 earthquake was one of the most devastating earthquakes to ever hit Taiwan. At 1:47 am that day, Nantou and JiJi in central Taiwan were hit by this 7.3 magnitude earthquake. According to the 9-21 Museum brochure, the earthquake killed 2,415 people, injured 11,305 and caused NT$300 billion dollars in property damage. To reflect on this event, to remember lost loved ones, and to educate people about earthquakes, the Taiwanese built the 921 Earthquake Museum in Nantou. We visited this museum on the second day of the conference. The museum is really interesting because it's built on the Chenglongpu fault line and there are many structures around the museum that reflect the devastation the earthquake caused. If you look at the pictures, an elementary school building that is a part of the museum has utterly collapsed except for a few columns.
The museum and the conference was a really memorable experience. To see such enthusiastic and passionate students engaging in discussions on how to live in harmony with nature was really refreshing.