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[HugChina] 5.8-Magnitude Yingjiang quake killed 25, left 300,000 homeless

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Bernd Chang

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Posted on Sat, Mar 12, 2011 09:02 AM 012733





A 5.8 magnitude earthquake on March 10th, 2011 killed at least 25 and left more than 300,000 people homeless in Yunnan province. Searching efforts for survivors continues.

March 12, 2011, Kunming - Rescuers with sniffer dogs and life detectors kept searching in the rubble on Friday (March 11) for survivors after an earthquake hit a densely populated county in Southwest China on Thursday.

More than 3,600 houses were destroyed and 11,300 badly damaged after Thursday's 5.8 magnitude earthquake struck Yingjiang county, a mountainous area in Yunnan province, near the border with Myanmar, the Civil Affairs Ministry said on its website. Parts of a supermarket and a hotel also buckled and fell.

More than 127,000 of Yingjiang county's 300,000 people have been displaced by the temblor which Chinese authorities measured at a magnitude 5.8.

The youngest victim was 3 years old. Among those killed were five students. Doctors said 134 people were seriously injured.

The quake destroyed more than 18,000 houses and damaged 50,000 others, many of which are no longer habitable.

Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao stressed saving lives is a priority and ordered quick relief work after the quake.

Search efforts continued Friday but the chances of finding more people alive were shrinking, said Jin Guangwei, an official from the Yunnan disaster relief center. Officials were now focusing on treating the injured, relocating survivors and distributing relief materials, he said.

"Many of the buildings in the area were constructed with low earthquake resistance and so they fell easily," Jin said.

The Civil Affairs Ministry said 25 people were killed in Yingjiang, while another 250 people were injured - 134 of them seriously. The official Xinhua News Agency said the central government has allocated 55 million yuan ($8.4 million) to the region for quake relief.

As of 10am on Friday, 3,300 tents, as well as more than 2,000 quilts and 1,200 coats, were dispatched to the homeless, according to the local government. Many residents had been moved to shelters in open fields.

The county needs 5,000 more tents for the homeless, said Zhao Jin, Party chief of Dai-Jingpo autonomous prefecture of Dehong, which administers Yingjiang.

The provincial and local governments have earmarked 23 million yuan (US$3.5 million) in emergency aid to the quake-hit regions.

"We are now short of disinfectant, which is crucial to prevent post-quake epidemics," said Zhang Tao, president of the People's Hospital of Yingjiang.

About 74 injured people were transferred to other hospitals for surgery after part of the hospital's building was damaged and the power supply had not been fully resumed there, Zhang said.

Experts have not ruled out the possibility that stronger quakes might hit the region in coming days.

Prior to the quake, more than 1,200 minor tremors had been recorded in the region over the last two months.

More goods and materials have been flocking to the disaster-hit areas from other parts of the country.

The Red Cross Society of China, Yingjiang office, said it had already received donations of 410,000 yuan for the region as of 6pm on Friday, including funds and medical materials from Hong Kong and Macau.

The central government has allocated 55 million yuan for quake relief, the ministries of finance and civil affairs said on Friday. The money will be used to relocate local residents as well as provide them with living subsidies.

Those who lost family members in the quake will receive condolence funds.

[Source of this article:HugChina]

Picture description:Damage was seen at the Yingjiang County seat on Thursday, March 10, 2011 following a 5.8-magnitude earthquake which has caused casualties in the area in southwest China's Yunnan Province.


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