Earthquake kills hundreds of people in south-west China
At least 398 dead and more than 1,800 injured after thousands of homes collapse in 6.1-magnitude quake in Yunnan province
Tania Branigan in Beijing
The Guardian, Monday 4 August 2014
At least 398 people have died and more than 1,800 have been injured after an earthquake struck south-west China, toppling homes and sending residents fleeing into the streets, the state broadcaster, CCTV, reported.
The 6.1-magnitude quake hit Ludian county, in a mountainous area about 225 miles north-east of Kunming, the capital of Yunnan province, the state news agency Xinhua reported. State media said the tremor was felt in the neighbouring provinces of Guizhou and Sichuan.
Li Keqiang. the prime minister, landed in Yunnan on Monday morning to visit the disaster zone as the search effort for survivors continued.
Xinhua and state broadcaster CCTV said on Monday that 398 people were killed, citing rescuers. CCTV said 1,891 were injured, three were missing and 29,400 had been evacuated. The death toll was expected to rise, once rescuers reached remote communities to assess casualties.
Photographs showed rescuers digging through rubble and taking the injured to hospital. Teams were still trying to reach some of the remoter areas such as Longtoushan township, the epicentre of the quake.
One resident from Longquan village said: "All houses in the town have been damaged by the earthquake and at least two thirds of them so badly that they could not be used anymore.
"Every few minutes there are people being carried away from the rubble."
The resident, who works for a telecoms firm, added that most of the rescue work was being done by residents as outside teams had yet to reach them. The road was blocked and some mobile communications were down, he said.
Ma Liya, who lives in Zhaotong, the county seat of Ludian, 14 miles (23km) from Longtoushan, told Xinhua that the streets there were like a "battlefield after bombardment". "The aftermath is much, much worse than what happened after the quake two years ago," Ma said. "I have never felt such strong tremors before. What I can see are all ruins."In September 2012, quakes in the region claimed 81 lives and injured 821.
The owner of a restaurant 19 miles away from Longtoushan, who gave her name as Ms Zhang, added: "I was on a hillside when the earthquake happened. The ground below me was shaking and I was scared to death."
"I heard that many people had died in Longtoushan and lots of houses collapsed. Our house is an old one. Though it has not collapsed, there are cracks on the wall."The quake struck at 4.30pm local time at a depth of 6.2 miles, according to the US Geological Survey.
Video shown by state broadcaster CCTV showed people rushing into the street as buildings shook. But one hotel employee in Zhaotong said: "I was inside when the building started shaking. I was so scared I didn't dare to run outside."
An official at the health bureau said more than 20 medical professionals from Zhaotong had already arrived and were working with local doctors to treat the injured, adding that Mmore doctors and nurses from Kunming and counties around Ludian were on their way.
A person who answered the phone at the People's Hospital, which was not damaged by the quake, said it was treating 116 of the injured patients, most of whom had only minor injuries. Those critically injured had mostly been transferred to Zhaotong People's Hospital, she added.
The Sina news portal reported that a volunteer who had reached Longtoushan said the quake victims were being placed in a local square, and many of the injured evacuated to hospitals.
Most of the deaths were in Zhaotong City, Xinhua said. Another 10 people were killed in Quijing City.
Electricity supplies were cut in some areas and at least one school collapsed, Xinhua added.
It said 2,500 troops had been dispatched to the disaster zone, in addition to 300 police and firefighters from Zhaotong. Yunnan's fire department posted on its microblog that it was sending 82 vehicles, 445 people and 12 rescue dogs to the disaster zone.Heavy rain is forecast throughout the coming week. Xinhua said the government was sending 2,000 tents, 3,000 folding beds, 3,000 quilts and 3,000 coats.CCTV said the quake was the strongest to hit Yunnan in 14 years. The province has been plagued by deadly earthquakes. In 1970, a 7.7-magnitude quake killed at least 15,000 people. Four years later, a 7.1-magnitude quake killed more than 1,400.
China's deadliest earthquake in recent decades hit Wenchuan, Sichuan, in May 2008, leaving almost 90,000 people dead or missing.
Armand Vervaeck “Deadly earthquake in Ludian county (Yunnan), China – at least 398 people killed + over 6 bn USD in damage.” http://earthquake-report.com/2014/08/03/very-strong-earthquake-sichuan-yunnan-guizhou-rg-china-on-august-3-2014/
Scott Murdoch “Earthquake turns towns in China’s Yunnan province into ‘a battlefield’” http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/earthquake-turns-towns-in-chinas-yunnan-province-into-a-battlefield/story-e6frg6so-1227012367278?nk=ecae4417d6ac931909ee4e02b3ed783c
*2:http://www.zt.gov.cn/index.aspx See eg. http://baike.baidu.com/view/73843.htm
*3:http://www.ludian.gov.cn/index.asp See eg. http://baike.baidu.com/view/466733.htm