Strong aftershocks kill one, injure 17 in Sichuan

2008-07-24 16:48:07 GMT       2008-07-25 00:48:07 (Beijing Time)       Xinhua English

CHENGDU, July 24 (Xinhua) -- Three aftershocks that jolted southwest China's Sichuan Province on Thursday had left one dead, 17 injured and about 1,200 houses destroyed as of 5 p.m..

According to the China Earthquake Networks Center, three tremors measuring 5.6, 4.9 and 6.0, respectively, on the Richter Scale hit the juncture of Ningqiang County, Shaanxi Province and Qingchuan County, Sichuan Province early Thursday morning and in the afternoon. They were felt in the cities of Guangyuan, Chengdu, Mianyang, Deyang and Leshan of Sichuan Province.

The center also monitored several aftershocks below magnitude 4.0, but no specific number was made available.

In the Lizhou District of Guangyuan, a 60-year-old woman died of a cerebral haemorrhage after she panicked during the strong tremors. A 24-year-old man was seriously injured after jumping from a two-story building in a panic.

In Chaotian District, the aftershocks left 14 people injured, five severely. The disaster also demolished 45 houses.

In Qingchuan County, two people were injured and more than 3,000 others were evacuated.

According to the latest information from the disaster relief headquarters in Qingchuan, 140,000 houses collapsed and another 1,500 houses were damaged. Most of the collapsed houses were ramshackle ones after the May 12 earthquake.

As of Thursday, Qingchuan has survived 18,000 aftershocks, 42 of them above magnitude 4.0, nine above magnitude 5.0 and three above magnitude 6.0.

The Sichuan provincial earthquake bureau has sent two working teams to the stricken area. Rescue operation and investigation of the disaster situation are under way.

The death toll from the May 12 earthquake that jolted Sichuan Province and its neighboring regions stood at 69,197 as of Thursday noon. The number of people listed as missing and injured were 18,209 and 374,176 respectively, the State Council Information Office said in a statement.

I have comments _COUNT_