Rescuers search for survivors after dozens killed in China quake
Beijing (AFP) -
Rescuers scoured through the rubble of remote villages in mountainous southwestern China Tuesday in a race to find survivors of an earthquake that claimed dozens of lives, with hundreds of people believed stranded or missing.
The magnitude 6.6 quake hit about 43 kilometres (26 miles) southeast of the city of Kangding in Sichuan province at a depth of 10 kilometres on Monday, according to the US Geological Survey.
At least 66 people were killed, state media reported, with more than 200 still cut off from rescuers in a remote scenic area. Scores were reported missing elsewhere.
State broadcaster CCTV showed firefighters pulling a bruised and bloodied woman from the rubble and carrying a survivor on a stretcher across a river on a makeshift bridge. It also showed damaged buildings and streets strewn with debris.
Footage shared by the China Earthquake Networks Center (CENC) on Monday showed boulders thundering down mountainsides in Luding county, kicking up clouds of dust as the tremors swayed roadside telephone wires.
At least seven hydropower stations were damaged by the quake, the Ministry of Water Resources said.
And CCTV reported that more than 11,000 people have been evacuated from areas prone to landslides or building collapse.
'Most buildings (in our village) are dilapidated, some of them have not collapsed, but all of them have cracks,' Yang Qing from Moxi town, one of the worst affected areas near the epicentre of the quake, told AFP.
'You can't get in and live in them, police have cordoned off all these buildings.'
'It's hard to say how long we'll have to stay in these tents,' Chen Ling, a restaurant owner from Moxi, told AFP.
'It'll probably take 10 or 15 days or so for things to resume.'
The China Meteorological Administration has warned that quake-stricken areas will experience 'significant rainfall' until Thursday and that landslides could hamper rescue work.
The region has also suffered a summer of extreme weather, with a record-breaking heatwave noticeably drying rivers in Chongqing.
- Flash flood warning -
The quake also rocked buildings in the provincial capital of Chengdu -- where millions are confined to their homes under a strict Covid-19 lockdown -- and in the nearby megacity of Chongqing, residents told AFP.
At least 10 aftershocks of magnitude 3.0 and above had been detected as of 7 am local time (2300 GMT Monday), CCTV said.
More than 200 people are reportedly cut off from rescuers in the Hailuogou Scenic Resort.
CCTV aired footage of bulldozers clearing boulders and other debris that were blocking access to the area.
More than 100 people have been told to evacuate due to fears of a flash flood after a landslide cut off a tributary to the Dadu river, the Luding government said on its official Weibo account.
Rescuers in kayaks were seen transporting villagers downstream from a dammed lake formed by the landslide, CCTV said.
China's cabinet said Monday it has dispatched a special team to lead the efforts, with CCTV reporting more than 6,500 people had been sent as part of the emergency rescue response.
Local officials have launched a public appeal for donations to help with relief work.
Earthquakes are fairly common in China, especially in the country's seismically active southwest.
A smaller magnitude 4.6 tremor hit eastern Tibet less than an hour after the initial quake, according to the USGS.
A magnitude 8.0 quake in 2008 in Sichuan's Wenchuan county left tens of thousands dead and caused enormous damage.