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China seeks survivors of quake that left more than 65 dead


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Firefighters and the military on Tuesday searched for survivors among the rubble after a powerful earthquake in southwest China, which killed at least 66 people and caused damage to buildings and infrastructure.

The updated toll includes 66 fatalities in the Tibetan Autonomous Municipality of Garze and neighboring Shimian County. The press also announced that the earthquake left nearly 250 injured and 12 missing.

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State channel CCTV reported that more than 11,000 people had been evacuated from areas at risk of landslides.

Seven hydroelectric plants were also damaged, according to the Ministry of Water Resources.

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“Everyone is in tents set up by rescue teams and the army,” Chen Ling, who runs a restaurant in the city of Moxi, one of the worst affected, told AFP by phone.

“It’s safer to be here because there are still aftershocks and roof tiles can easily fall off the buildings. The electricity was cut off, but they brought in generators,” she explained, who expects to be there “probably 10 to 15 days.”

“All the buildings are in danger of collapsing. Some have not fallen, but all have cracks,” Yang Qing, manager of another Moxi restaurant, who spent the night in a tent, told the same news agency.

CCTV also reported that nearly 200 people are stranded in the Hailuogou Valley, a glacier tourist zone that sits at an altitude of more than 2,850 meters.

The 6.6-magnitude quake struck on Monday just before 1:00 pm local time (2:00 GMT), at a depth of 10 kilometers in Sichuan province, according to the US Geological Survey.

The epicenter was located in Luding County, an area of ​​valleys, rushing rivers and narrow roads near the Tibetan Plateau, nearly 200 kilometers west of the provincial capital, Chengdu.

CCTV on Tuesday aired footage of firefighters pulling a woman’s body from the rubble and carrying a wounded man on a stretcher across a makeshift bridge over a river.

Some roads, which have become ruins or have been divided by the earthquake, cannot be used, forcing emergency teams to cross rivers by improvised bridges or with cables positioned between the two banks.

The Chinese army announced on Monday that it had sent a special team to help the population.

According to CCTV, more than 6,500 people were mobilized as part of the rescue teams.

The quake was also felt in buildings in the provincial capital of Chengdu, where millions of people are in lockdown due to an outbreak of Covid, and in the large city of Chongqing.

After the earthquake, the zone recorded at least ten aftershocks of 3 degrees of magnitude or greater, according to the China Center for Seismic Networks.

rain forecast

Chinese leader Xi Jinping urged the country on Monday night to do “everything possible to help those affected and minimize human losses”, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

Meteorology predicts rain for the next few days in the most affected area, which could complicate rescue operations.

Earthquakes are relatively common in China, particularly in Sichuan. In June, at least four people died and dozens were injured in two earthquakes.

In 2008, the region was the scene of a 7.9 magnitude earthquake, which left 87,000 dead or missing, including thousands of students.

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