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09 August 2017

Deadly earthquake strikes China’s Sichuan province

Residents gather outside buildings in Xian, China, on 8 August 2017Image copyright
AFP

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The tremors were felt in Xian, several hundred kilometres from the epicentre

A 7.0 magnitude earthquake has killed at least 13 people and injured scores more in China’s south-western province of Sichuan.

The quake struck in the sparsely populated north of Sichuan, the US Geological Survey said.

Some reports suggest the death toll could grow. The epicentre was close to an area popular with tourists.

Sichuan province is prone to earthquakes. More than 70,000 people were killed in a quake there in 2008.

Image copyright
AFP

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Police and emergency workers have been digging through rubble

The quake struck at around 21:20 (13:20 GMT) about 300km (180 miles) north of the provincial capital Chengdu, and was 10km deep.

Photos showed damage to buildings, including a hotel, in Jiuzhaigou, home to one of China’s most famous nature reserves and a Unesco World Heritage site.

A restaurant owner in the town said this quake felt stronger than the 2008 tremor, though there is no suggestion yet that the death toll could reach anywhere near the levels caused by that disaster.

Image copyright
EPA

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Tourists were evacuated from hotels

Image copyright
AFP

Image caption

Some of the injured were treated in the open air

Tang Sesheng told the AFP news agency that many people were taking refuge in the main square.

“People didn’t dare grab anything like money or clothes – we just all ran outside right away,” she said.

‘Shocked and scared’

Gwendolyn Pang of the Red Cross Society of China said it would take time to learn the extent of the damage and number of casualties.

“Communications lines and electricity are disrupted and people are no doubt shocked and scared,” she said.

China’s National Commission for Disaster Reduction, quoted by AFP, said as many as 100 people may have been killed and 130,000 homes damaged.

Some reports in Chinese media said tourists were among the dead and injured.

President Xi Jinping called for “all-out efforts to rapidly organise relief work and rescue the injured people”, state news agency Xinhua reports, and fire officers and soldiers were being deployed from nearby areas.

Shaking was felt in Chengdu and in Xian, some 700km (430 miles) away.

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