Mon, September 01, 2008
China > Mainland

China rushes troops to quake zone as toll rises

2008-09-01 10:32:27 GMT2008-09-01 18:32:27 (Beijing Time) SINA.com

China has deployed more than 8,000 soldiers and military reservists to help search and rescue efforts in the southwest after a 6.2-magnitude earthquake that left 38 people dead, state press has said.(AFP/File/Olivier Morin)

China deployed more than 8,000 soldiers and military reservists to help search and rescue efforts in the southwest Monday after a 6.2-magnitude earthquake that left 38 people dead, state press said.

The weekend quake, in a mountainous region spanning the Sichuan and Yunnan provinces, destroyed or damaged an estimated 258,000 homes and injured nearly 650 people, and aftershocks continued to be felt.

The China News Services said the military were rushed to the scene to beef up search and rescue efforts as more people were being located and pulled out from the rubble.

Some 2,000 troops, police and firefighters already in the area have rescued more than 130 injured victims from collapsed buildings since the quake struck on Saturday afternoon, it added.

An inter-ministerial command post was set up on Monday in the quake zone to coordinate communications and the rescue and relief work, the China Earthquake Administration said.

Food, water, medical supplies and tents were being rushed to the scene, it said on its website.

Besides searching for survivors, rescue workers were also rushing supplies to those in need, evacuating people from dangerous buildings, and setting up refugee camps, it added.

The administration said two of the latest fatalities -- the previous death toll had been 32 -- were attributed to a 5.6-magnitude aftershock that shook the region around Panzhihua city on Sunday afternoon.

Panzhihua is near the epicentre of the main quake and about 500 kilometres (300 miles) south of where an 8.0 earthquake devastated a swathe of Sichuan on May 12, leaving nearly 88,000 people dead or missing.

According to the government in Sichuan, aftershocks continued to rattle the region Monday, shaking the city of Dujiangyan which was also badly damaged in May.

Most of Saturday's damage was in the county of Huili, where 25 people have been confirmed dead and 321 injured, Xinhua news agency said.

Five were killed and 132 injured in Panzhihua city, while six died and 195 people were injured in Chuxiong prefecture in neighbouring Yunnan province to the south, it added.

As of late Sunday, the civil affairs ministry said that over 258,000 homes in the region had collapsed or suffered damage, while 152,000 people had been evacuated from the quake zone.

(Agencies)

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