The toll of a powerful earthquake in China, in the mountainous Southwest, increased on Wednesday, September 7, rising to seventy-four dead, while thousands of people were evacuated to temporary shelters.
A 6.6-magnitude earthquake hit Sichuan province on Monday, the United States Institute of Geological Survey (USGS), the world’s leading earthquake agency, said.
The epicenter is in Luding Township, an area of valleys, rushing rivers and narrow roads on the edge of the Tibetan Plateau, about 200 kilometers west of the provincial capital, Chengdu.
More than 21,000 people evacuated
Forty people died in the Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Garze, and thirty-four in the neighboring district of Shimian, said Wednesday. The People’s Daily, the newspaper of the ruling Chinese Communist Party. More than 21,000 people have been evacuated from areas prone to landslides or building collapse, according to state broadcaster CCTV.
Rescuers are still trying to reach isolated villages to help the inhabitants and find potential survivors. Dozens of people are still believed to be stranded or missing.
“My head was stuck between two columns, and my legs, between tables”explained to the provincial media Red Star News a woman stranded for nearly five hours in a collapsed hotel in the town of Moxi, very affected by the earthquake. “I was forced to lie down in a certain position. I was resigned”she added. “I thought of my children, I wondered if their school had collapsed. I imagined them trapped inside, crying and calling out to me for help. »
Monday’s tremor also shook buildings in the provincial capital Chengdu, whose 21 million people are currently confined to their homes due to an outbreak of Covid-19.
At least 13 aftershocks of magnitude 3 or greater have been recorded since the first quake, according to the China Center for Seismic Networks (CENC).
In addition to several hundred firefighters, nearly 2,000 soldiers are mobilized to help the population and participate in relief, according to the army. In particular, they have set up many makeshift camps, made up of tents, to accommodate the inhabitants who cannot return to their homes, which are destroyed or weakened.