Disasters & Accidents

Central China quake death toll climbs to 82: state media

Beijing, Sep 8 (EFE).- The death toll from the 6.8-magnitude earthquake that rocked the central Chinese province of Sichuan climbed to 82, according to the latest update from the authorities, official media reported Thursday.

A total of 35 people are missing and 270 have been injured, state newspaper China Daily reported.

The last official count of 74 deaths was recorded until 9 pm while the latest data is until 8 am on Thursday.

Forty-six deaths were recorded in Sichuan’s Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, where the earthquake’s epicenter was located, and 36 in Ya’an city.

By Tuesday, 50,000 people had been evacuated from the area.

The earthquake occurred at 12:52 pm on Monday at a depth of 16 kilometers and had its epicenter in Luding County in Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, about 200 kilometers from the provincial capital Chengdu, which has more than 20 million inhabitants, according to the China Earthquake Networks Center.

This is the strongest earthquake to hit Sichuan province since 2017.

Seismic activity is common in the province, which in 2008 was the scene of a magnitude 8 earthquake that left nearly 90,000 people dead or missing.

The local meteorological department said that the epicenter in Lunding County is likely to have rainstorms on Thursday and Friday and that local authorities should enhance monitoring and warning of landslides and mudslides, state newspaper Global Times reported.

China has mobilized more than 10,000 members of rescue forces, including soldiers, firefighters and medics, as well as nine helicopters to assist rescue efforts.

The China National Space Administration has also activated the civil and commercial satellite emergency response mechanism and tasked 10 satellites to take images of the quake-hit areas to provide more information to the rescue forces, according to Global Times.

Authorities said the quake and its aftershocks had damaged some roads, making it difficult for rescue teams to access some of the worst-hit areas.

The roads in three villages and communications for 14,000 people, as well as 11 power lines, were still under repair on Wednesday due to which the local authorities relocated more than 20,000 affected residents.

The Chinese ministries of finance and emergency management allocated RMB 50 million ($ 7.25 million) toward rescue and relief operations.

On Wednesday, foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning conveyed China’s “heartfelt thanks” to countries who have expressed their willingness to provide support and assistance for relief efforts.

In the last five years, Sichuan has been hit by five earthquakes of 6.0-magnitude. EFE


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