74 killed in 6.8-magnitude earthquake in southwest China

Sep. 7 () –

The death toll from the earthquake of magnitude 6.8 on the open Richter scale that struck China’s Sichuan province (southwest) on Monday has risen to 74, Chinese authorities confirmed Wednesday.

Of the total number of people killed, 40 have lost their lives in the Tibetan prefecture of Ganzi, while the other 34 were in Shimian county, Yaan city, ‘China Daily’ has reported.

All in all, 15 people are unaccounted for and 253 people have been injured in Ganzi, including five in critical condition and 70 seriously injured, according to information from the Sichuan provincial government.

Houses and roads in Ganzi have been severely damaged, and power supply to six townships has been cut off, while one medium-sized and six small hydropower plants have been severely damaged. More than 10 aftershocks have been recorded since the initial quake, the newspaper reported.

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In light of the situation, China’s State Council has dispatched a task force to the area to coordinate rescue and relief operations that includes members of the Ministries of Emergency Management, Public Security and Health, China’s Xinhua news agency reported.

The agency has also raised the earthquake emergency level to level 2, the second highest in the Asian giant, while the National Disaster Reduction Commission under the Ministry of Emergency Management has raised the national disaster response level to level 3.

The epicenter was located 39 kilometers from Luding county in western Sichuan province, 47 kilometers from the city of Kangding and 226 kilometers from the city of Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, the China Seismological Networks Center (CENC) has reported.

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China’s President Xi Jinping on Monday ordered all necessary rescue efforts to try to prevent the death toll from rising further and called for monitoring the aftershocks, protecting against possible future natural disasters resulting from the earthquake, and accommodating those affected, for which he has ordered the army and police to “actively” assist in the relief efforts.

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