At least 20 dead in Tibet following Nepal quake

2015-04-27 02:41:28 GMT2015-04-27 10:41:28(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English
Rescuers work in the county of Gyirong in China's Tibet autonomous region, April 25, 2015. [Photo/Xinhua]Rescuers work in the county of Gyirong in China's Tibet autonomous region, April 25, 2015. [Photo/Xinhua]

XIGAZE, Tibet - At least 20 people were confirmed dead in Southwest China's Tibet autonomous region from the earthquake that struck neighboring Nepal on Saturday.

A total of 58 people there were injured and another four remain missing, according to the regional disaster relief headquarters.

An 8.1-magnitude quake shook Nepal at 2:11 pm (Beijing Time), killing more than 2,000 people and injuring another 5,460 in Nepal. The quake also affected the southwestern part of China's Tibet. Some 24,800 people have been relocated in Xigaze City.

The two border ports to Nepal were seriously affected. The highway linking Xigaze and the Zham Pass, the border port to Nepal, has been cut by landslides.

As of 7 am Sunday, four people, including a Nepalese national, were missing in Nyalam County. About 80 tourists, including a dozen foreigners, were visiting the county when the earthquake happened.

Couillard, a Canadian tourist, told Xinhua that he saw many ambulances and fire engines on the road in Xigaze and felt very safe. He still hopes to head toward the base camp of Mount Everest.

The quake toppled 1,206 houses and destroyed 9,974 ones, damaged roads and cut telecommunications in Xigaze, where 54 temples were also damaged.

A 5.9-magnitude aftershock shook Xigaze at 5:17 pm Saturday and a 5.3-magnitude quake jolted Nyalam County at 1:42 am Sunday, China Earthquake Networks Center recorded. Weather forecasts predict continuous rain and snow for the next few days.

Over 400 mountaineers from more than 20 countries on the Tibetan side of Mount Qomolangma have descended or are descending to the north base camp at 5,200 meters (16,900 ft) with no casualties reported.


Currently, Xigaze City has sent 17,361 rescuers and 34 large machines to the quake-hit area.

Electricity supply has resumed as of 10:10 pm on Sunday in Gyirong County, said the Tibet Power Company of the State Grid.

According to the Ministry of Transport, traffic resumed at national highway 318 linking Nyalam County to Dingri County as of 10 p.m..

The road linking Nyalam to Zham Town were severely damaged. Rescuers are working hard to remove the blocking stones.

The ministry has allocated 10 million yuan (about $1.6 million) of funds to Tibet.

The central government has sent 5,000 tents, 30,000 coats, 30,000 comforters, 15,000 folding beds and 15,000 sleeping bags to the affected area. The regional government has sent tents, coats, food, medicine and drinking water.

Tibet military command is helping with relief work. The Xigaze military subarea has assembled 1,050 soldiers and members of the militia, 60 medical staff and 87 vehicles. More rescuers from the regional military area are on the way. About 600 border guards are involved in rescue operations in Nyalam and Gyirong. Rescuers are braving heavy snow and rain to reach the affected area.

"Aftershocks are our biggest worry at the moment, because there is nowhere to hide," said Gyanga Tseten, detachment head of Xigaze fire brigade, who is leading a 30-strong task force to Zham Pass about 37 km from Nyalam.

Two groups of health workers have reached Gyirong county and begun disinfection operations. Another group had reached Nyalam by noon, where epidemic prevention and control is underway. Protection of drinking water sources is the priority, said Sogdoi, head of the Xigaze City health bureau.

Telecommunication technicians are repairing the 66 base stations in Xigaze that stopped working during the earthquakes. China Mobile's branch in Lhasa and sub-branch in Xigaze have sent 57 technicians and 10 emergency vehicles along the road from Xigaze to Nyalam and Zham. China Unicom and China Telecom have also sent technicians and recovery vehicles to the worst areas.

A team made of 58 medical staff departed from Sichuan Province to Nepal to help with relief work on early Monday morning.

The regional government of Tibet has sent a message of condolence and material assistance to Nepal following Saturday's earthquake.

Officials of the Tibet Autonomous Region government met with Harry Prasad Basho, Nepalese consul general in Lhasa, and promised 6 million yuan ($967,000) in material aid on Sunday.

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday sent a message of condolences to Nepalese President Ram Baran Yadav. Premier Li Keqiang also expressed his deep sympathy to the relatives of the quake victims and the injured in another message to Nepalese Prime Minister Sushil Koirala the same day.

Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi urged relevant ministries and companies to intensify rescue efforts and humanitarian aid to Nepal Sunday morning.

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