Beijing: At least 12 people were killed and over 100 injured after China’s southwestern Sichuan province was struck by two strong earthquakes, the state media reported Tuesday.
The first 6.0 magnitude earthquake shook Changning County of Yibin City at 10:55 pm local time on Monday and according to the China Earthquake Centre, the second tremor of magnitude 5.3 hit the area on Tuesday morning.
“As so far, 12 people died and 125 were injured,” China Daily reported.
Injuries and deaths reported by rescuers across the province revealed that “two people remain trapped and one of them is in critical condition” while four people have been rescued and hospitalised in the Shuanghe township.
People in Yibin said aftershocks were felt in the following half-an-hour of the earthquakes.
“I was resting in my house when the quake struck,” said Chen Hongxia, who lives on the 16th floor of a residential building in Changning County. “The chandelier and furniture were vigorously shaking, and my family first hid in the toilet and then rushed outside,” Chen said, adding that many of her neighbours rushed to the ground floor.
Hu Yukun, also a resident of Changning County, said the quake was quite strong and that “the ground kept shaking for about a minute.”
Local policeman He Zexi said he first felt the electric fan and then the chandelier shake for ” about 30 seconds”.
In provincial capital Chengdu, an early warning system alerted the people about one minute before the earthquake struck. When the countdown ended, a strong tremor was felt.
The ministry of emergency management and the provincial department of emergency management have activated an “emergency response”, according to Xinhua.
A work team of 63 fire tenders and about 302 firefighters have been sent from the Sichuan province to the affected areas to provide guidance in rescue and disaster relief, the ministry stated.
The National Food and Strategic Reserves Administration and the ministry have dispatched 5,000 tents, 10,000 folding beds and 20,000 quilts to the quake-hit areas, the state media reported.
The major damages from the earthquake include the collapse of the Hongyuan Hotel and several cracks on highways, including the major highway connecting Yibin and Xuyong County of Sichuan’s Luzhou city which has now been closed. Some sections of two other highways have also been shut.
Strong tremors were also felt in major districts of neighbouring Chongqing Municipality, not far from the epicentre, and a few residential houses were damaged. However, no casualties were reported, the Chongqing Municipal Emergency Management Bureau said.
Changning is around 300 km from Chengdu and about 240 km from Chongqing. In neighbouring Yunnan province, the earthquake was felt in a few counties of Zhaotong city, which is close to Yibin city. Local fire departments have sent teams to help with rescue efforts, the Xinhua report said.