Mon, September 01, 2008
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Death toll from magnitude-6.1 quake jumps to 28 in SW China

2008-08-31 15:48:25 GMT2008-08-31 23:48:25 (Beijing Time) Xinhua English

A truck runs past debris of quake-destroyed walls in Datian Town, Renhe District of Panzhihua City, southwest China's Sichuan Province. Twenty-two people were dead after an earthquake measuring 6.1 on the Richter scale hit Panzhihua City on Saturday. (Xinhua/Chen Haining)

Residents gather on a tractor to evade earthquake in Bailagu Village, Pingdi Town, Renhe District of Panzhihua City, southwest China's Sichuan Province, August 31, 2008. Twenty-two people were dead after an earthquake measuring 6.1 on the Richter scale hit Panzhihua City happened at 4:30 p.m. (Beijing time) on Saturday. As of 9 p.m., 17 people were reported dead and about 100 others injured in Sichuan, and five people dead and 35 others injured in neighboring Yunnan Province.(Xinhua/Chen Haining

An emergency vehicle of Panzhihua Telecommunication Bureau runs to Pingdi Town for a rush repair in Renhe District of Panzhihua City, southwest China's Sichuan Province, August 31, 2008. Twenty-two people were dead after an earthquake measuring 6.1 on the Richter scale hit Panzhihua City happened at 4:30 p.m. (Beijing time) on Saturday. As of 9 p.m., 17 people were reported dead and about 100 others injured in Sichuan, and five people dead and 35 others injured in neighboring Yunnan Province.(Xi

Photo taken on Aug. 31, 2008 shows debris of quake-destroyed walls in Datian Town, Renhe District of Panzhihua City, southwest China's Sichuan Province. Twenty-two people were dead after an earthquake measuring 6.1 on the Richter scale hit Panzhihua City on Saturday. As of 9 p.m., 17 people were reported dead and about 100 others injured in Sichuan, and five people dead and 35 others injured in neighboring Yunnan Province. The quake struck the juncture of Renhe District of Panzhihua and Huili Co

PANZHIHUA, Sichuan, Aug. 31 (Xinhua) -- Three more deaths were reported Sunday in Huili county, Sichuan Province, bringing the death toll of Saturday's 6.1-magnitude quake to 28.

The quake also injured 238. Three others were missing in Huili, which falls under the jurisdiction of Yi Autonomous Prefecture of Liangshan, a neighbor of Panzhihua City, the epicenter of the quake, according to Huili County Headquarters of Quake Control and Relief.

No details were available about the three dead persons.

The quake struck the juncture of Renhe District in Panzhihua and Huili County in Liangshan prefecture at 4:30 p.m.(Beijing time). The epicenter was about 50 km southeast of downtown Panzhihua, at 26.2 degrees north latitude and 101.9 degrees east longitude. It was at a depth of 10 km, the China Earthquake Administration said.

QUAKE IMPACT AND DAMAGE

Areas affected by the quake were Panzhihua, Huili of Liangshan, both in Sichuan, and Yi Autonomous Prefecture of Chuxiong, Bai Autonomous Prefecture of Dali, Lijiang and Zhaotong cities, all inYunnan Province. Kunming, the Yunnan capital, was also hit.

Most of the fatalities, however, were in Huili, followed by Chuxiong and Panzhihua. All three areas are on the southern end of the fault line of the May 12 quake that left 69,226 people dead, 17,923 missing and 374,643 others injured.

Another 6.0-plus magnitude quake, however, was not expected in the area in the next two weeks, said Liu Jie, chief forecaster of the Beijing-based Chinese Seismographic Information Center, on Saturday.

More than 300 aftershocks were also monitored in the quake zone as of 5 a.m. on Sunday, according to Chinese earthquake networks.

Chinese earthquake networks monitored an aftershock of 5.6 magnitude in the same area of Saturday's quake at 4:31 p.m. on Sunday. It is not known if any new damage was caused.

The office for the emergency response of Panzhihua City said preliminary investigations showed three people were killed and 65 were injured in Saturday's quake.

Panzhihua City Quake Control and Relief Headquarters on Sunday confirmed 70,462 people in the city were affected by the quake. In addition, 32,247 people were displaced.

In total, 38,425 residences suffered damage in the quake, of which 363 homes were toppled. Seven reservoirs, 22 highways and three bridges were also damaged.

The Panzhihua education authority said cracks were found on the buildings of more than 100 schools, of which 66 were in Renhe, a hard-hit district in the city.

"I am afraid these schools will not open for the new semester starting on Monday," said Shen Zhiqiang, an official with the Panzhihua City bureau of education.

"The figure might go up, as damages in some primary schools based in remote mountainous villages were not reported yet due to inconvenient transport conditions," Shen said.

Further south, 600,000 people in five regions of Yunnan, a neighboring province to Sichuan, were affected by the quake. This included five deaths, 112 injured and the destruction of 130,00 residences, said a Yunnan Provincial Bureau of Civil Affairs source.

The worst hit was Yi Autonomous Prefecture of Chuxiong where the five deaths were recorded. Destroyed were 111,448 homes, 656 school buildings and 213 buildings totaling 65,554 square meters of floor space. The direct economic loss was put at 500 million yuan (about 73 million U.S. dollars), according to the office for the quake control and relief headquarters of Chuxiong.

RELIEF OPERATION

On Saturday, China Earthquake Administration launched a level-three emergency response and dispatched an on-site working team to offer assistance after the quake struck.

In addition, the Chinese Ministry of Civil Affairs began a level-four emergency response mechanism at 5 p.m.. The civil affairs departments in Panzhihua and Yunnan began a class-three emergency response to cope with the aftermath of the quake.

Panzhihua government officials rushed to the quake zone to direct relief efforts. Relief materials, including water, food and 300 tents, as well as emergency financial aid of 5 million yuan, were sent to the quake-affected areas.

More than 2,000 people in Huili were mobilized to join the relief operation that was hampered by heavy rain late on Saturday and early Sunday.

In total, 1,200 tents, together with about 10 tons of food and water were sent to quake zones in Huili, according to Huang Ling, the Huili County Government deputy chief.

On Sunday, Sichuan Provincial Weather Observatory issued a forecast saying the weather in the coming week would be overcast with showers or thunder showers, making the relief effort difficult.

The Yunnan Provincial Bureau of Civil Affairs said it had already sent relief materials including 3,200 tents, 1,000 cotton-padded quilts and 25 tons of rice to quake zones in the province. Chuxiong Prefecture had also allocated 350,000 yuan for disaster relief.

RESUMPTION OF DISRUPTED SERVICES

Traffic on the north-south rail line from Chengdu, the Sichuan capital, to Kunming, which runs all the way through the quake zone, was disrupted temporarily on Saturday and resumed on Sunday.

Some stops on the 1,100 km rail line were damaged, which led to the cancellation of three freight trains, a Kunming Railways Administration source said.

"Resumption of this railway service will guarantee the delivery of relief materials to the quake zone centered on Panzhihua," said a Kunming Railways Administration official.

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