Death toll rises to 65 from 6.8 magnitude earthquake in southwest China

The death toll from the earthquake of magnitude 6.8 on the Richter open scale registered on Monday in the Chinese province of Sichuan (southwest) has risen to 65, as confirmed Tuesday by the authorities, who have indicated that the Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture is the most affected by the earthquake.

Local authorities have indicated that at least 37 people have died in this area of Sichuan, in addition to 28 dead in Shimian County, in the city of Yaan. Also, at least twelve people have been reported missing in Ganzi, where there are also 170 injured, including 56 in serious condition.

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In view of this situation, China’s State Council has sent a task force to the area to coordinate rescue and relief operations, including members of the Ministries of Emergency Management, Public Security and Health, as reported by the Chinese news agency Xinhua.

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 ordered on Monday to devote all necessary rescue efforts to try to prevent the death toll from rising further and called for monitoring the aftershocks of the earthquake, protect against possible future natural disasters resulting from the earthquake, and accommodate those affected, for which he has ordered the army and police to “actively” assist in the relief efforts.

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