Quake kills 13 peo­ple in China

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - INTERNATIONAL - GIL­LIAN WONG In­for­ma­tion for this ar­ti­cle was contributed by Fu Ting of The Associated Press.

BEI­JING — An earth­quake shook a moun­tain­ous re­gion in south­west­ern China near a na­tional park Tues­day evening, killing 13 peo­ple, in­jur­ing 175 oth­ers and knock­ing out power and phone net­works.

Five of the dead were tourists, China’s of­fi­cial Xin­hua News Agency re­ported early to­day, cit­ing the in­for­ma­tion of­fice of the Sichuan provin­cial gov­ern­ment. The gov­ern­ment in Aba pre­fec­ture in Sichuan province said 28 peo­ple were se­ri­ously in­jured.

Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping called for rapid ef­forts to re­spond to the quake and res­cue the in­jured. Au­thor­i­ties sent med­i­cal teams, res­cuers and other re­sources.

The mag­ni­tude-6.5 quake struck a re­gion bor­dered by the prov­inces of Sichuan and Gansu at a depth of just 5.5 miles, ac­cord­ing to the U.S. Ge­o­log­i­cal Sur­vey. Shal­low earth­quakes tend to cause more dam­age than deeper ones.

The China Earth­quake Net­works Cen­ter mea­sured the earth­quake at mag­ni­tude 7.0 and said it struck at a depth of 12 miles. The quake oc­curred about 9:20 p.m. near Ji­uzhaigou, or Ji­uzhai Val­ley, a na­tional park known for its wa­ter­falls and karst for­ma­tions, the Chi­nese agency said.

The area is on the edge of the Ti­betan Plateau in north­ern Sichuan province, home to many Ti­betan and other eth­nic mi­nor­ity vil­lages.

A man sur­named Song who an­swered the phone at an emer­gency of­fice in Aba pre­fec­ture, where the Ji­uzhaigou na­tional park is lo­cated, said the nearby town of Zhangzha had re­ported the deaths and in­juries. Song did not say where the five tourists who died were from.

About seven hours af­ter the earth­quake, an­other quake struck in north­west­ern China, some 1,360 miles away. That earth­quake, which struck this morn­ing and mea­sured at mag­ni­tude 6.3 by the U.S. Ge­o­log­i­cal Sur­vey and 6.6 by China’s agency, was cen­tered in a ru­ral area of the Xin­jiang re­gion, near the bor­der with Kaza­khstan.

It was im­me­di­ately fol­lowed by af­ter­shocks, but there were no im­me­di­ate re­ports of ca­su­al­ties or dam­age.

Earth­quakes are com­mon in China’s west, although the low pop­u­la­tion den­sity there of­ten means ca­su­al­ties are low. China’s dead­li­est earth­quake this cen­tury, a mag­ni­tude-7.9 tem­blor with a depth of 12 miles, struck Sichuan province in May 2008, killing nearly 90,000 peo­ple.

The epi­cen­ter in Tues­day’s quake was about 24 miles from the county of Ji­uzhaigou, which has a pop­u­la­tion of about 80,000, in an area that’s 6,562 feet above sea level. It was 177 miles from Chengdu, the densely pop­u­lated cap­i­tal of Sichuan province, ac­cord­ing to the Chi­nese earth­quake cen­ter.

The Xin­hua News Agency said strong tremors could be felt in Chengdu. The Sichuan provin­cial gov­ern­ment’s news web­site said that af­ter the quake struck, a num­ber of train ser­vices to Chengdu and other cities were sus­pended.

Ji­uzhaigou county was suf­fer­ing from wide­spread power fail­ure af­ter the quake, Song said. Area of­fi­cials were be­ing sent to Zhangzha, which was clos­est to the quake’s epi­cen­ter.

“The tremors were very strong,” said a wo­man in Ji­uzhaigou town who gave only her sur­name, Wang, and said she worked for a travel com­pany. She said the dam­age in the town cen­ter seemed min­i­mal other than the sus­pen­sion of elec­tric­ity.

“Peo­ple from other re­gions are pretty fright­ened,” Wang said.

Yu Qian, an area tax­a­tion bureau of­fi­cial, told Xin­hua that she felt strong shak­ing that sent her and her two chil­dren rush­ing from their home on the fifth floor of a build­ing. Yu said the quake cut off power in her neigh­bor­hood and dis­rupted tele­phone ser­vice.

“I was get­ting into a car at the time of the quake, and it felt like a heavy duty truck roar­ing past,” Liu Yan­rong, a town­ship of­fi­cial, told Xin­hua.


Res­cuers work at a tourist site at a na­tional park early to­day in Zhangzha in south­west­ern China af­ter a strong quake.

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