China combs quake area for vic­tims

New Straits Times - - World -

JI­UZHAIGOU: China yes­ter­day ramped up its re­sponse to an earth­quake that killed 20 peo­ple and in­jured hun­dreds, send­ing sup­plies and per­son­nel into the moun­tain­ous zone as res­cuers fanned out to search for more vic­tims.

Dozens of re­lief and mil­i­tary trucks rolled through the re­mote cor­ner of Sichuan province here, a pop­u­lar tourist des­ti­na­tion near the epi­cen­tre of Tues­day night’s 6.5-mag­ni­tude quake.

The quake’s epi­cen­tre was an area pop­u­lated largely by eth­nic Ti­betans and Qiang peo­ple.

Lo­cals took refuge in blue re­lief tents in makeshift camps or out on streets in towns as men­ac­ing af­ter­shocks and land­slides kept nerves on edge.

Ji­uzhaigou’s scenic beauty is pop­u­lar with Chi­nese tourists who flock to its na­tional park, a Unesco World Her­itage site. Tens of thou­sands of vis­i­tors were evac­u­ated on Wed­nes­day.

But author­i­ties were search­ing for more, with the Sichuan Fire Depart­ment say­ing 16 tourists were be­lieved stranded at a lake in the na­tional park.

The tremor evoked mem­o­ries of a dev­as­tat­ing 8.0-mag­ni­tude earth­quake in the re­gion in 2008 that left 87,000 peo­ple dead or miss­ing, but the im­pact of Tues­day’s dis­as­ter was com­par­a­tively light.

Author­i­ties brought the death toll up yes­ter­day to 20, with scores more in­jured turned up, bring­ing the to­tal to 431, 34 of them se­ri­ously hurt. A French­man and a Cana­dian woman were among the in­jured.

The quake tore cracks in moun­tain high­ways.

Some build­ings in towns bore cracks, but few struc­tures ap­peared to have sus­tained heavy dam­age.

One hotel here par­tially col­lapsed, and a woman’s dead body was pulled out of the rub­ble yes­ter­day morn­ing, fire author­i­ties said.

It was not known if oth­ers were still buried.

Author­i­ties have said thou­sands of re­sponse per­son­nel were sent into the area. AFP


Res­cue work­ers car­ry­ing a sur­vivor af­ter an earth­quake in Ji­uzhaigou county, Sichuan province, on Wed­nes­day.

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