Nearly 400 killed in China quake

RSTV Bureau

china_quakeChina rushed thousands of soldiers, police and fire fighters as well as eight planes on Monday to its south-western Yunnan province, which was devastated by a strong 6.5-magnitude earthquake that killed nearly 400 people.

The death toll from Sunday earthquake said to be the most powerful to hit the quake-vulnerable province in the past 14 years today stood at 398 with some people still missing.

The strong shallow quake has affected about 1.08 million others in Zhaotong City and Qujing City with about 1,801 injured.

The quake prompted an emergency evacuation of about 230,000 people, said the Yunnan Civil Affairs Department.

Nearly 80,000 houses had collapsed and 124,000 others were seriously damaged, the department said.

The deaths included 319 in Ludian County, 66 in Qiaojia County, one in Zhaoyang District and 12 in Huize County.

Rescuers are racing against time to save lives after the quake struck at 4:30 pm on Sunday at a depth of 12 kms.

The Chinese government dispatched 4,000 troops to conduct relief.

The rescue work has been hampered by continuous heavy rain which has disrupted traffic, lowered temperatures in the remote area, and made food and medicine shortages even more acute.

Rescuers are evacuating residents threatened by a quake lake, which was formed in Jiangbian Village, Zhixiang Township of Huize County and has inundated 20 village houses.

The lake was formed following a landslide that occurred in the upper reaches of the Hongshiyan hydropower station, which is under construction.

The strong quake

The strong quake hit at 4:30 pm Beijing time (0830 GMT) at a depth of 12 kms with the epicentre in Longtoushan Township, 23 kms southwest of the county seat of Ludian, Zhaotong City.

The quake has also led to at least 30 deaths in Qiaojia County of Zhaotong and nearby Huize County of Qujing City, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

The epicentre was monitored at a 12-km depth, the China Earthquake Networks Centre (CENC) said.

Civil affairs authorities sent 2,000 tents, 3,000 folding beds, 3,000 quilts and 3,000 coats to the quake-hit region.

Xigatze is located close to the Arunachal Pradesh border. The epicentre was monitored at a depth of 10 kms, CENC said.