China earthquake: Nine killed, 164 injured

Over 130,000 houses may be damaged, said China's National Commission for Disaster Reduction.

Beijing: Atleast nine people were killed and 164 other injured after a 7-magnitude earthquake jolted a remote but popular tourist destination in China's southwest last night, the state media reported today.

The quake has left nine people dead and 164 others injured. Five among the dead were visitors to the popular tourist destination of Jiuzhaigou national park, Xinhua news agency said citing a China Earthquake Networks Center (CENC) statement.

The massive earthquake struck at 9:19 PM (local time) yesterday and the epicenter was monitored at a depth of 20 km, it said.

Jiuzhaigou, or Jiuzhai Valley, is a national park known for spectacular waterfalls and karst formations. More than 34,000 people visited the tourist attraction yesterday.

So far, 31,500 tourists have been relocated to safe places.

The local government has organised tourist coaches and private-owned vehicles to rush to the affected areas to help transport the stranded tourists.

Power, communication and water supply in the county seat have basically recovered.

So far, the Jiuzhaigou County has dispatched more than 90 emergency vehicles and 1,200 personnel to participate in the rescue work.

The county also sent consultants to hotels, rural inns and streets to offer possible counselling service for tourists.

The quake was felt in the provincial capital Chengdu, about 300 km south of the epicentre, and other regions in the neighbouring provinces of Gansu and Shaanxi, the Xinhua report said.

President Xi Jinping has called for all-out efforts to rapidly organise relief work and rescue the injured people.

Authorities should check the impact of the earthquake, evacuate and settle visitors and local people, and reduce death and injuries as much as possible, Xi said.

As the earthquake took place during the flood period and tourism season, authorities should enhance meteorological early warning and geological monitoring to guard against other disasters and try their best to protect people's lives and property, he added.

Premier Li Keqiang also urged local authorities to go all out in relief and monitoring work.

China's cabinet, the State Council, has sent a national work team to the disaster-hit area to guide relief work. Local governments have also activated top-level emergency response procedures.

Sichuan is a quake-prone region. In May 2008, an 8.0- magnitude earthquake struck Wenchuan and killed more than 80,000 people. In 2013, a 7.0-magnitude quake hit Lushan, in which 196 people were killed.


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