5 dead, 54 injured in Southwest China quake

Updated: 2014-11-24 09:28


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5 dead, 54 injured in Southwest China quake

Tents are set up to house quake survivors in a school in Tagong town of Kangding county, Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Southwest China's Sichuan province on November 23, 2014. [Photo/ECNS]

Five people were killed and 54 others injured after a 6.3-magnitude earthquake hit a heavily Tibetan region of southwest China's Sichuan Province on Saturday.

The quake struck at 4:55 p.m. Saturday, with the epicenter measured at the Tagong Prairie, Kangding County, in the Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Garze, according to the China Earthquake Networks Center.

A total of 25,000 houses were damaged, affecting about 79,500 people and forcing 6,200 to relocate, according to the Garze prefecture government.

Reporters at the site said dozens of village huts and cattle sheds collapsed in the rural areas, but no building collapsed in the county seat, thanks to the massive shantytown renovation and infrastructure improvement it has undergone in recent years.

"The government has spent heavily on the development of the Tibetan region, so houses today are very firm," said Zhou Gong, a local Tibetan driver, who said his house survived the quake without damage.

A 6.5-magnitude quake jolted a mountainous part of Yunnan on August 3, killing over 600 people. Poorly constructed houses as a result of bitter poverty was considered a major factor behind the heavy casualties.

Among the injured, six were in critical condition and another five suffering severe injuries. The remaining 43 people sustained minor injuries, including 19 primary school pupils who got hurt in a stampede, said a publicity official at Kangding county, correcting the previous count of 42.

Within 9 hours, emergency services were able to successfully rescue all those injured after the earthquake. Eleven medical teams have reached the quake zone, and nearly 10,000 medical and epidemic prevention personnel have joined the rescue efforts.

In hard-hit Duola Village, relocated villagers are sheltered in tents and have been given quilts and instant noodles. Mobile communication has also been restored with the help of telecommunication vehicles.

Rescuers said all residents in the epicenter would spend this night in tents. Good news is that every household in the pastoral Tagong Town is equipped with a tent, but the freezing temperatures there, which could plunge to minus 10 degrees Celsius at night, could make lives difficult.

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