Workers try to reroute a road that was severely damaged by an earthquake in Luding county, Sichuan province, Sept 6, 2022. (YANG SHU / SICHUAN DAILY)
The death toll from a magnitude 6.8 earthquake that hit Luding county in Sichuan province on Monday had risen by Tuesday evening to 74, with damaged roads, aftershocks and rain hindering rescue work, which led to an upgrading of the emergency response to the second-highest level.
Forty people were killed in Luding in the Ganzi Tibetan autonomous prefecture, and the other 34 were in Shimian county of neighboring Ya'an city.
Fifteen people were missing and 253 were injured in Ganzi, including five in critical condition and 70 seriously injured, according to a news conference held by the information office of the Sichuan provincial government on Tuesday
Fifteen people were missing and 253 were injured in Ganzi, including five in critical condition and 70 seriously injured, according to a news conference held by the information office of the Sichuan provincial government on Tuesday.
Houses and roads in Ganzi were severely damaged, power supplies to six townships were cut off, and one medium-sized and six small hydropower stations were severely damaged. More than 10 aftershocks have been recorded since the initial quake, according to the Ganzi prefectural government.
The Office of the State Council Earthquake Relief Headquarters and the Ministry of Emergency Management have upgraded the emergency response to the earthquake, which took place at 12:52 pm on Monday, to Level II, the second-highest level in the four-tier emergency response system.
All-out efforts have been made in the search and rescue operations. As of 8 am on Tuesday, more than 6,650 people, including members of the People's Liberation Army and the People's Armed Police Force, firefighters, communication workers and medical personnel, as well as nine helicopters, had been sent to the quake zone.
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Around 1,900 soldiers from the PLA's Western Theater Command were sent to help with earthquake relief and rescue work as of Tuesday morning.
A front-line command group reached the town of Moxi, the epicenter of the earthquake, after traveling overnight for six hours. The group established contact with local governments and emergency management departments to gather details of the situation and implement a unified response, the theater command said.
On Monday afternoon, the Western Theater Command tasked affiliated authorities, including the PLA Ground Force and PLA Air Force, the Sichuan Provincial Military Command and the Tibet Military Command, with immediate rescue operations and told them to stand by for further mobilization.
Medical workers with relief materials, including tents, power generators and flashlights had reached the hard-hit town of Detuo, which is 20 kilometers from the epicenter, said Luo Chukai, deputy head of the publicity department of the Luding county committee of the Communist Party of China. He added that power supplies had yet to be restored in the town.
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Local residents were living in tents or had been evacuated to schools nearby, said Luo, who was in the town to assist with disaster-relief efforts.
Sichuan has allocated 50 million yuan (US$7.18 million) in relief funds to Ganzi and another 50 million yuan to Ya'an, according to the information office of the provincial government.
Ning Guangxia contributed to this story.
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