Monday September 10, 2012
Over 150 aftershocks felt after Friday’s quakes
Made In China
By Chow How Ban
MORE than 150 aftershocks were felt after the multiple earthquakes hit Yiliang county in Yunnan province and Weining county in Guizhou province last Friday.
The aftershocks with the biggest measuring 4.4 magnitude on the Richter scale caused landslides, cutting off more roads and and making it more difficult for rescue workers to carry out their job.
Chinese media reported that the 5.7-magnitude earthquake in Yunnan caused direct economic losses of 3.69 billion yuan (RM1.8bil) including the destruction of 6,650 homes, while the one in Guizhou incurred 190 million yuan (RM93.1mil) in economic losses.
Preliminary figures as of Saturday showed that the death toll rose to 80 and 820 injured in Yunnan. More than 200,000 people had been relocated to safer areas.
No casualty was reported in Guizhou as of Saturday.
Yunnan’s civil affairs department said that more than 153ha of farmland were destroyed and more than 4,300 heads of cattle were killed during the quake.
Officials from the rescue command centre in Yiliang county told a press conference that among the 80 deaths, three of them were students, and 23 teachers and students were injured.
The quake damaged a total of 517 schools in Zhaotong city which administers six quake-stricken counties, including the worse-hit Yiliang county.
China News Service quoted Yunnan’s public security bureau as saying that no crime cases were reported in the quake areas.
The bureau said that 3,700 police officers and fire and rescue workers and 2,500 temporary police assistants had already been dispatched to Yiliang county.
According to Xinhua News Agency, rescue workers had reached 90% of the quake-hit areas but had access problem in Luozehe town, which was the hardest hit of all.
“The hardest part of the rescue will be handling traffic,” said Luozehe town chief Li Fuchun. “Roads were blocked and rescuers had to climb mountains to reach hard-hit villages.”
He said it would be hard to assess the exact number of casualties until rescuers reached the more remote areas.
The news agency reported that boulders tumbled down mountain slopes and crushed homes and vehicles.
Due to damages to the telecommunication facilities in the area, some rescue workers lost contact with the command centre.
Fallen rocks destroyed a settlement near a zinc mine and more than 20 mining families were forced to evacuate.
While the authorities have sent more than 20,000 tents to the quake areas, some places in Yiliang county have not received the much-awaited help, Phoenix TV reported.
Resident Hu Yue said most of the residents in his village had relocated to higher ground on top of a hill after the earthquake destroyed their homes.
“There is no shelter and it is just an open-air area. No, we still do have tents to stay in,” he said.
“There are many destroyed buildings. We are still afraid to return to our homes as the buildings still risk falling apart.”
In a statement, China Earthquake Administration said that about 670,000 people from 24 villages and towns in Yiliang and Daguan counties and seven townships in bordering Weining county were affected by the earthquakes.
The administration said that preliminary assessment on the building structures in the areas by experts showed that 70% of the buildings were made of wood, earth and stones and about 30% of such structures were damaged.
Cement and brick buildings made up 30% and only 10% of them were destroyed. Most of the farmers’ homes were prone to earthquakes, it said.
With a population of 5.6 million, Zhaotong is prone to geological disasters. In 2003, a 5.6-magnitude earthquake killed four people and injured 594 in Ludian county. Two years ago, 45 were dead or missing as a result of landslides in Qiaojia county.