7.0-magnitude earthquake hits SW China's Sichuan province, killing at least 196 and injuring thousands


Chinese Society  Updated:Sat, May 4, 2013 19:14 PM   By Bernd Chang


A 7.0-magnitude earthquake rocked Ya’an city, a mountainous area of China’s western Sichuan province Saturday April 20 less than 100 miles from the provincial capital of Chengdu, killing at least 196 people, injuring thousands and leaving tens of thousands of others homeless.

The 7.0 magnitude earthquake was centered west of the town of Linqiong, Lushan county, Ya’an city in southwest China’s Sichuan province, but was felt in nearby bigger cities like the provincial capital city of Chengdu, 150 kilometers away.

The Yaan quake happening at 8:02 Beijing time April 20 Saturday prompted many residents that were still sleeping in bed to rush out of their homes without wearing formal suits.

The quake, with epicenter in Lushan county in Yaan city was called Lushan earthquake by some media and Yaan earthquake by others. It was measured at 12km below the surface - a shallow depth that usually indicates extensive damage.

The quake was strongly felt by residents in Sichuan's capital city of Chengdu, which is about 150 kilometers from Ya'an and has a population of around 10 million.

As of April 6:00 pm Beijing time April 24, the deadly Yaan quake has killed at least 196 people and left 21 missing, and injured 13484, among whom 968 people are in critical condition, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.

The Sichuan earthquake has affected the living of 2197814 people in 114 counties. By April 22 it recorded 2444 aftershocks in the area.

Aftershocks shook the area for hours, including two with a magnitude of 5. State CCTV television played footage from security cameras when the quake hit, showing panicked residents scrambling down apartment stairs and rushing from hospitals and stores into the street, where many remained overnight for fear that buildings would collapse.

Shortly after the quake, Chinese government initiated a massive rescuing efforts. Premier Li Keqiang flew to Lushan County, the epicenter of the quake area from Beijing on Saturday afternoon, giving instructions of the rescue and relief work. He visited patients injured in the earthquake on Sunday morning.

Military and civilian rescue teams are mobilized to reach every household in Lushan and neighboring counties of southwest China's Sichuan Province, badly hit by Saturday's strong earthquake.

A total of 18,000 soldiers and officers from China's military and armed police forces and members of paramilitary reserve forces have been sent to the affected areas, and so far 10,000 have reached areas which are seriously stricken, said a statement from the headquarters of the Chengdu Military Area Command (MAC) on Sunday.

The quake took place about 150 miles from Wenchuan county, where a quake in May 2008 left about 100,000 people dead or missing. That disaster led to widespread outrage among Chinese who were angry that shoddy building construction, especially of government schools, had contributed to the collapse of buildings and needless deaths of many children.
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