China combs quake area for victims
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.