DHARAMSALA, Aug 5: At least 398 people have been killed and more than 1800 injured after a powerful earthquake measuring 6.5 on the Richter scale jolted south-west China’s Yunnan province.
The earthquake occurred at 4:30 pm Sunday with a depth of 12Kms and had its epicentre at Longtoushan township, 23 km southwest of the county seat of Ludian.
Hundreds of thousands of houses were destroyed and lakhs of people had to be evacuated from the quake-hit area.
“The quake prompted an emergency evacuation of about 230,000 people”, China’s state media, Xinhua cited the Yunnan Civil Affairs Department as saying.
“Nearly 80,000 houses had collapsed and 124,000 others were seriously damaged.”
President Xi Jinping has called for an “all-out effort” for saving people’s lives first while Chinese Premier Li Keqiang visited the quake-hit region to supervise the relief work, according to Xinhua.
China’s state media further reports that around 11,000 policemen and fire fighters, over 7,000 soldiers and armed police, as well as eight planes have been dispatched to Yunnan province.
Disaster relief materials such as tents and beds have also been sent to the quake–hit area where relief work has been hampered by torrential rain and landslide for last two days.
“About 33,000 tents, 10,000 quilts, 60,000 cotton coats, 10,000 folding beds, 10,000 sleeping bags, 5,000 sets of folding chairs and tables as well as 50 mobile toilets have been dispatched to the areas affected by the quake”, reports Xinhua citing a statement from the Ministry of Civil Affairs.
The earthquake is thought to be the worst to hit the quake-vulnerable region in the last 14 years.
In 1974, a magnitude 7.1 earthquake in Yunnan’s Zhaotong city destroyed much of the city and killed about 1,500 people.