Beijing, Sep 6 (EFE).- The Chinese army began a large rescue and relief effort on Tuesday, a day after a 6.8-magnitude earthquake struck central Sichuan province, killing at least 65 people.
As aftershocks of 3.0 magnitude or higher continued to rock the area, rescuers transported over 50,000 people from the hardest-hit Luding county, according to local media.
The state-run Global Times said 37 people died in Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, which includes Luding. The rest 28 dead are from Ya’an city.
Nearly 250 people suffered injuries, and 12 were missing after the strong tremor jolted Sichuan on Monday afternoon.
The regional earthquake agency raised its emergency response to level I on Monday night, the highest in the four-tier system.
More than 1,900 officers, police, and soldiers of the People’s Liberation Army PLA Western Theater Command reached the affected area at 8 am on Tuesday, the Global Times said.
The soldiers swiftly swung into rescue work to evacuate the injured, search for the missing, and dredge roads in the badly damaged neighborhoods of Luding.
The earthquake occurred at 12.52 pm on Monday at a depth of 16 km (10 miles) and had its epicenter in Luding.
The epicenter lay about 200 km from the provincial capital Chengdu, which houses more than 20 million inhabitants.
Authorities said communication got snapped in some towns in the area amid land sliding and damage to homes and roads.
The authorities said power supply was restored to nearly 22,000 households in the earthquake-hit area after overnight emergency repair.
Seismic activity is common in Sichuan province, which in 2008 was the scene of a magnitude-8 earthquake that left nearly 90,000 people dead or missing.
In recent weeks, Sichuan has grappled with a searing heat wave.
The province of Sichuan is battling the latest Covid-19 outbreak. Most of the residents in the provincial capital are currently home quarantined.
The authorities in Chengdu urged the residents to evacuate safely first in case of an earthquake, fire, flood, and other disasters.
China Earthquake Networks Center said ten aftershocks of 3.0-magnitude or above occurred since Monday night in the area. EFE