Earthquake Death Toll in China’s Sichuan Province Climbs to 23, People Still Rescued

Two tourists prepare to be evacuated at the parking lot of the InterContinental Resort Jiuzhai Paradise in Jiuzhaigou County, southwest China's Sichuan Province, Aug. 9, 2017. Photo: Xinhua/Fan Peishen

  • At least 23 people have died and 493 have been injured as a result of Tuesday’s earthquake in China’s Jiuzhaigou County, Sichuan Province.
  • Two more people have been rescued more than 60 hours after the calamity.
  • Over 70,000 people have been evacuated from the area affected by the 6.5-7.0-magnitude earthquake.
  • Tremor has reminded of the 8.0-magnitude Sichuan earthquake in 2008, one of the most devastating ones in human history.

The death toll from the strong earthquake which jolted the Sichuan Province in Southwest China on Tuesday has grown to 23, local authorities have announced.

The powerful earthquake with a magnitude of between 6.5 and 7.0 on the Richter Scale, according to different sources, struck Jiuzhaigou County in China’s Sichuan Province at 9:19 p.m. on Tuesday, killing dozens of people and leaving hundreds injured.

More than 70,000 people have been evacuated from the earthquake-hit towns and villages in the Jiuzhaigou County, according to state media reports.

Jiuzhaigou is a popular tourist destination with a national park, forested mountains and over 140 lakes that has been recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The Jiuzhaigou national park is known for spectacular waterfalls, pristine lakes and karst formations.

Tuesday’s earthquake has brought back memories of the devastating 8.0-magnitude earthquake in China’s Sichuan which left 87,000 people dead or missing back in 2008 – one of the largest earthquakes in human history in terms of loss of human life and material devastation.

Climbing Death Toll and Rescues

The death toll from Tuesday’s earthquake in Jiuzhaigou County, Sichuan Province, in Southwest China reached 23 on Friday as the local authorities discovered three more bodies, AFP reported.

The Aba prefecture emergency response office said in a statement that the bodies were found inside a bus in a river valley in Zhangzha.

It did not provide further details with respect to what had happened to the vehicle.

The statement said at least 493 were injured in Tuesday’s 6.5-7.0-magnitude earthquake.

Meanwhile, two more people were rescued on Friday morning, some 60 hours after the tremor hit China’s Sichuan Province, state-run news agency Xinhua reported.

According to local police, the two people, who had been trapped at a work station in Jiuzhaigou scenic area, were rescued at around 10:30 a.m. local time.

“We located them at around 5 p.m. on Wednesday but we were unable to evacuate them at that time. We stayed with them to ensure their safety while observing the surrounding environment until we could take them out,” said Zhou Kai, a police officer.

One of the rescued is a 51-year-old tourist from Zhejiang Province in Eastern China, while the other is the daughter of a scenic area staff member.

Sichuan Province dispatched over 1,300 armed policemen, 1,108 firefighters, 55 sets of heat sensors and 30 sniffer dogs to Jiuzhaigou.

A total of 455 firefighters from Shaanxi Province were put on standby, and 28 rescue workers from Gansu Province carried out rescue work.

China’s earthquake response, including action capability, rescue equipment and relief materials, has made great progress during the years after the devastating Sichuan earthquake in 2008, Xu Qiang, a geological disaster prevention expert with the Chengdu University of Technology, said, as cited by Xinhua.

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