Deaths reported in Sichuan earthquake
A magnitude-7.0 earthquake struck Jiuzhaigou county in Sichuan province at 9:19 pm on Tuesday, killing at least five people and leaving dozens injured, Xinhua News Agency reported.
All of those killed were reported to be tourists.
The epicenter was at a depth of 20 kilometers in Jiuzhaigou and the Aba Tibetan and Qiang autonomous regions.
Jiuzhaigou national park is in the area and is a popular tourist spot known for spectacular waterfalls and karst formations. Each year, millions of tourists visit.
The area has been hit by frequent aftershocks.
The China Earthquake Administration declared the highest level of the four-tiered emergency response system for earthquakes, and dispatched officers to the region to deal with emergencies.
“Our departments, including the emergency and rescue centers as well as sub-bureaus in the provinces of Sichuan, Gansu, Qinghai, Shaanxi and the Ningxia Hui autonomous region, have been all standing by and asked related workers to be on duty, monitoring aftershocks, collecting information and making evaluations of possible disasters,” the administration said on its official website.
Police in Jiuzhaigou had reached the epicenter to maintain order in the area, said the Armed Police Force’s Sichuan Provincial Corp. Other forces around the area also were standing by.
The PLA Daily reported the epicenter is nearly 60 kilometers from the county’s downtown, and the telecommunications in the area were temporarily shut down after the quake.
The province’s Party chief, Wang Dongming, asked all governmental departments to stand by and dispatched a work team to lead the rescue. He said the priority is to reduce any deaths or injuries and prevent post-quake damages.
Sangey, a worker at the popular Jiuzhaigou tourist site, told Xinhua by phone that some houses in the scenic spot had collapsed or had cracks, and authorities were organizing young people to help evac- uate residents.
Li Changyong, head of the Jiuzhaigou county health and family planning bureau, said the quake was strongly felt in the county seat, 35 km from the epicenter, and many residents rushed outside.
Li told Xinhua that he saw no building collapses in the county seat and had learned of no immediate reports of deaths or injuries.
Tremors were felt in the provincial capital of Chengdu and as far away as Xi’an, capital of Shaanxi province, according to media reports.
A quake in Wenchuan county, Sichuan, on May 12, 2008 killed almost 70,000 people.
Hong Kong’s travel groups, student campers and other visitors in areas affected by the 7.0-magnitude earthquake in Jiuzhaigou, Sichuan province, “are safe” on Tuesday, according to relevant agencies.
An Immigration Department spokesperson told China Daily that the department had not received any requests for assistance from people in the area or from those with friends, relatives and associ- ates there.
A spokesperson from the Hong Thai Travel Services said that it now had two tour groups, totaling 40 people, in Sichuan. Both have finished their tours and left the Jiuzhaigou valley. They are all reported to be safe.
Deputy General Manager of China Travel Service Ng Heion said the agency currently has no tour groups in the Jiuzhaigou valley. Two groups left the resort for Chengdu on Monday, Ng added.
From today (Wednesday) to the end of the month, the company scheduled 10 groups, 200 people in total, to travel from Hong Kong to Jiuzhaigou.
Ng said the Travel Industry Council of Hong Kong, the city’s regulator and association of travel agencies, will hold a special meeting to decide whether or not to cancel these trips.
Currently, a group of 15 Hong Kong college students are in the middle of an internship at Wolong National Nature Reserve — the main part of Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuaries.
According to a spokesperson from the Sichuan provincial government’s information office, the students are all safe. They are also reasonably far from the epicenter of the earthquake.
Jiuzhaigou is a national park known for its spectacular waterfalls and karst formations. It is visited by millions of people each year.
Armed Police officers rescue victims in Jiuzhaigou county on Tuesday night.