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Death toll in China quake rises to 195, 10,500 injured Last Updated : 21 Apr 2013 11:51:10 AM IST Death toll in China quake rises to 195, 10,500 injured
A strong earthquake struck the southwestern Chinese province of Sichuan on Saturday, killing at least 195 people and injuring about 10,500 others in a region that suffered a catastrophic quake five years ago.
A devastating 7.0-magnitude earthquake flattened more than 10,000 homes in a seismic mountainous region.
Thousands of emergency workers, including soldiers, rushed to reach the affected zones in the hilly region, and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang traveled to the area affected by quake .
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang visited the temblor's epicentre in the province during afternoon by helicopter as roads to Lushan county of Ya'an city were damaged and communications were cut off and directed not to waste time to save lives.
Li visited hospitals, tents and climbed on a heap of ruin to see the disaster situation, expressed condolences to the victims and the survivors, and guided the rescue and relief work on site.
Xu Mengjia, the Communist Party chief of Ya'an, the city that administers the area where the quake struck, told state broadcaster CCTV that because of landslides and disruption to communications, determining the total number of casualties may take some time.
Sichuan-based nuclear facilities safe
Sichuan-based nuclear power facilities are safe and no abnormalities have been detected in environmental radiation monitoring following the 7.0-magnitude quake, Chinese authorities said Saturday.
According to the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP), it has sent a team to the epicentre to direct works of screening environmental hazards and emergency monitoring after the quake hit Ya'an in the quake-hit province Saturday, Xinhua reported.
It said local drinking water had not been contaminated so far and there were no chemical plants or other environmentally hazardous facilities in Lushan county of Ya'an.
The quake struck the province on the edge of the Tibetan Plateau at 8:02 am, prompting a major relief and rescue operation in the same area where 90,000 people were reported dead or missing in a 8-magnitude quake in 2008.
Meanwhile, China's Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) said Sichuan-based nuclear power facilities are safe and
no abnormalities have been detected in environmental radiation monitoring following the quake.
It however has not provided the details of the facilities.The MEP said local drinking water had not been contaminated so far and there were no chemical plants or other environmentally hazardous facilities in Lushan county.
Several of the injured were said to be in serious condition, Chinese officials said. At least 10,000 homes were destroyed, the Sichuan government said.
Amid rescue operations, a 30-year-old pregnant woman surnamed Zhao was pulled out of the rubble along with a young child, the People's Daily said on its Weibo account.
The epicentre of the earthquake was reported to be at a depth of 13 km and was monitored at 30.3 degrees north latitude and 103.0 degrees east longitude.
The powerful quake flattened buildings, triggered landslides and disrupted phone and power connections in the historic Lushan county, home of endangered giant Pandas on the foot hills of Tibetan plateau.
The China Earthquake Networks Center (CENC) said 846 aftershocks were reported including 50 above 3.0 magnitude. To help rescue operations, about 6,000 soldiers and police headed to the area where five drones were deployed to capture aerial images, state-run Xinhua news agency said.
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