9 killed in 7.0-magnitude quake in SW China

Source: Xinhua| 2017-08-09 09:38:00|Editor: An

Residents seek shelter in Anding District of Dingxi City, northwest China's Gansu Province, Aug. 8, 2017. A 7.0-magnitude earthquake jolted Jiuzhaigou County in neighbouring Sichuan Province at 9:19 p.m. Tuesday (Beijing Time). (Xinhua/Chen Yonggang)

CHENGDU, Aug. 9 (Xinhua) -- Death toll from a 7.0-magnitude earthquake that struck a remote area in southwest China's Sichuan Province Tuesday night has risen to nine, the information office of the provincial government said on Wednesday.

As of 5 a.m., the quake had left nine people killed and 164 others injured.

At least five of the dead were visitors to the popular tourist destination of Jiuzhaigou, the epicenter.

The earthquake jolted Jiuzhaigou County at 9:19 p.m. Tuesday, and the epicenter was monitored at 33.2 degrees north latitude and 103.82 degrees east longitude. The quake struck at a depth of 20 km, according to the China Earthquake Networks Center.

Jiuzhaigou, or Jiuzhai Valley, is a national park known for spectacular waterfalls and karst formations. More than 34,000 people visited the tourist attraction on Tuesday.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for all-out efforts to rapidly organize relief work and rescue the injured people after the quake.

Premier Li Keqiang also urged local authorities to go all out in relief and monitoring work.

"Some of the injured suffered fractures of their hands or feet. The most seriously wounded I saw was a boy. I can only see his eyes, since other parts of his head was bandaged," an armed police officer at the people's hospital of Jiuzhaigou County told Xinhua Wednesday morning.

The local government has organized tourist coaches and private-owned vehicles to rush to the affected areas to help transport the stranded tourists.

Over 100 tourists remain trapped at the Ganhaizi scenic spot of Jiuzhaigou, as part of a mountain nearby collapsed and blocked traffic.

More than 10,000 tourists have been relocated as of 8 a.m. Others stranded are expected to be evacuated by Wednesday night, according to the provincial quake relief headquarters.

The disaster reduction center of the Ministry of Civil Affairs predicted, based on a preliminary assessment, that the quake might leave 24,000 rooms collapsed or severely damaged.

China Earthquake Administration has sent a 55-member work team to the quake-hit site, and its branches in Sichuan and Gansu provinces have also dispatched their own teams.

So far, Jiuzhaigou County has dispatched more than 90 emergency vehicles and 1,200 personnel to participate in the rescue work.

The county also sent consultants to hotels, rural inns and streets to offer possible counseling service for tourists.

Power, communication and water supply in the county seat have basically recovered.

The quake was felt in the provincial capital Chengdu about 300 km south of the epicenter, and other regions in the neighboring provinces of Gansu and Shaanxi.

As of midnight, a total of 108 aftershocks were recorded, all below 4.0 magnitude.

The population density within 50 kilometers around the epicenter is nine people per square kilometer.

Sichuan is a quake-prone region. In May 2008, an 8.0-magnitude earthquake struck Wenchuan and killed more than 80,000 people. In 2013, a 7.0-magnitude quake hit Lushan, killing 196.

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