Category : News
Deadly quake in China’s Sichuan kills 13, injures 175; tourism affected
A powerful earthquake of magnitude 7.0 shook a popular tourist destination in the Swedish province of Sichuan in China, killing 19 people and wounding another 175, officials announced today.
Authorities fear the death toll may rise.
The high-intensity earthquake struck yesterday at 09:19 local time and the epicenter was controlled to a depth of 20 km, Xinhua public agency announced.
Jiuzhaigou, or the Jiuzhai Valley National Park is known for spectacular waterfalls and karstic formations. More than 34,000 people visited the tourist attraction yesterday.
So far, 13 people have died and 175 others have been injured in the earthquake in Sichuan, the provincial government reported.
Among the wounded a Frenchman and a Canadian.
Maxence Vallon, 18, was injured on both legs; While the Canadian, who asked not to be identified, suffered minor head injuries, according to the report. Both were treated at the Jiuzhaigou County Hospital.
The exact number of victims of foreigners in the disaster was not immediately known.
“We were lying in the open ground to seek refuge when a stone fell and hit my brother on the right leg,” said Romain Vallon, who is studying in Beijing.
The brothers stayed in a hotel with their mother in Jiuzhaigou when the earthquake occurred.
Five of the dead were visitors to the Jiuzhaigou National Park, said the center of earthquake networks in China (NECC).
So far, 31,500 tourists have moved.
Tourist buses and private vehicles were put into service to help transport stranded tourists.
The power, communication and water supply of the municipal head have been restored.
So far, Jiuzhaigou County has sold more than 90 emergency vehicles and 1,200 people for rescue work. The county has also sent consultants to hotels, inns and streets to provide a possible counseling service to tourists.
The quake was felt in the provincial capital of Chengdu, about 300 kilometers south of the epicenter, and other areas in the neighboring provinces of Gansu and Shaanxi, according to the report.
Xi Jinping has called for all efforts to quickly organize relief and rescue the injured.
Authorities should check the impact of the earthquake, evacuate and regulate visitors and local people, and reduce deaths and injuries as much as possible, Xi said.
As the earthquake occurred during the flood season and tourist season, authorities should improve early warning and geological monitoring to protect themselves from other disasters, and do everything possible to protect people’s lives and property, he added.
Minister Li Keqiang also urged local authorities to manage and control.
The Chinese cabinet, the State Council issued a national task force to the disaster area to guide the relief work. Local governments have also activated high-level emergency response procedures.
Western People’s Liberation Army (EPL) theater command, which oversees the Chinese province of Sichuan, has improved air traffic control in the area of last night’s earthquake to make way for emergency mission flights, the PLA Daily reported.