Relief efforts underway after Sichuan quake kills 13, injures 220

2019-06-20 02:11:36 GMT2019-06-20 10:11:36(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

CHENGDU, June 19 (Xinhua) -- Over 3,100 people including fire fighters, armed police and volunteers have joined the search and rescue work after a 6.0-magnitude earthquake hit southwest China's Sichuan Province Monday, local authorities said Wednesday at a press conference.

As of 4 p.m. Wednesday, 13 people had died and 220 were injured. Among the injured, 153 people are receiving treatment in hospitals, said Li Tinggen, secretary-general of the municipal government of Yibin.

The earthquake hit Changning County of Yibin at 10:55 p.m. Monday. The epicenter was monitored at 28.34 degrees north latitude and 104.90 degrees east longitude, according to the China Earthquake Networks Center. The quake struck at a depth of 16 km.

Around 243,880 people were affected, and more than 52,000 people were relocated in quake-hit areas. Over 20,000 houses collapsed or were severely damaged, the updated statistics showed.

A vibrant cry of a baby burst out early Tuesday morning from Yibin Mine First Aid Hospital. It was the first baby to come into the world following the devastating earthquake in Changning County.

"I was scared and the building was shaking. But the doctors and nurses were very calm. They accompanied me and helped me relax," said mother Wang Jirong, recalling the moment she gave birth to her baby boy.

"One of our doctors had a fractured bone, and many nurses in our hospital are very young. They all stuck to their posts, trying their best to ensure the safety and health of mothers and babies," said Yao Chong, chief of the hospital's obstetrics and gynecology.

By Tuesday afternoon, seven babies had been born in Yao's hospital. Ambulances, stretchers, and tents have been prepared to transfer the expecting mothers in case of an emergency.

On Tuesday evening, as a victim severely injured in the quake was receiving treatment in an ambulance in Changning County, high-definition images of the patient's ultrasound scan were transmitted in real time via a 5G network to experts in Chengdu, the provincial capital that is more than 200 km away.

In Chengdu, based on the images, experts with the Sichuan provincial people's hospital quickly suspected that the patient might be suffering from a damaged spleen and offered their advice on treatment.

"The patient's life might have been in danger if the damaged spleen had not been detected," said Li Gang, a doctor sent by the hospital to Changning to assist with the rescue efforts.

Health experts are collecting samples and testing the water quality of local waterworks, disinfecting the hospitals and temporary shelters, and providing 113 psychological counseling services. There have been no reports of epidemics so far.

Around 280 technicians, 86 vehicles, 31 drones and other professional equipment have been sent to the quake-hit areas for surveys on secondary geological disasters.

By Wednesday afternoon, over 600 spots that suffered risks of geological hazards have been checked, according to the press conference.

Currently, all coal mines in Yibin have been suspended and miners have been evacuated. Nineteen hazardous chemical companies are currently being checked.

Insurance companies have initiated emergency response procedures for the settlement of claims. Local banks and insurance organizations have set up 334 green channels as of 10 a.m. Wednesday, dispatching 994 workers and establishing 45 service points, according to the Sichuan banking and insurance regulatory bureau.