China: Sichuan under lockdown, hit with deadly earthquake; 46 dead; Residents stuck inside their houses; videos viral

At least 16 other people are missing a day after the 6.8 magnitude earthquake struck a mountainous area in Luding county in Sichuan province

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Tuesday, September 06, 2022, 02:49 PM IST
article-image
Rescuers transfer survivors across a river following an earthquake in Moxi Town of Luding County, southwest China's Sichuan Province on Monday, September 5 | AP

The powerful earthquake that set off landslides and shook buildings in southwestern China killed at least 65 people and injured hundreds, state media said Tuesday.

At least 16 other people are missing a day after the 6.8 magnitude earthquake struck a mountainous area in Luding county in Sichuan province, which sits on the edge of the Tibetan Plateau where tectonic plates meet and is hit regularly by quakes.

Chinese state broadcaster CCTV said that 17 people died in Ya’an city, while 29 deaths were reported in neighbouring Ganzi prefecture.

“Another 16 people were missing and 50 were injured,” CCTV said late on Monday.

The quake shook buildings in the provincial capital of Chengdu, whose 21 million residents are already under a COVID-19 lockdown.

Tough month for Sichuan

Chinese authorities have extended Covid-19 lockdowns of Chengdu and Shenzhen, backtracking on promises of freedom for tens of millions of people in the southern megacities following mass testing campaigns.

Chengdu, a city of 21 million and the capital of Sichuan province, announced a four-day lockdown last week. But authorities reported 140 cases on Sunday and said the restrictions would persist until at least Wednesday.

The measures sparked panic buying across the city, with videos spreading online of people piling up their cars with pork and vegetables.The lockdown has followed a tough month for Sichuan province, which has endured a record heatwave and drought.

Earlier on Friday, Chengdu became the latest city to be locked down by Chinese authorities, in an attempt to stem the rise in Covid cases.

The latest disaster comes months after a 6.1-magnitude earthquake tore through Sichuan in June. Sichuan is a earthquake-prone area, as it lies along the eastern boundary of the Qinghai-Tibetan plateau.

The earthquake also called into memory an 8.0-magnitude quake which hit Wenchuan county in northwest Sichuan in 2008, which killed 70,000 and caused widespread destruction.

CCTV reported that mountain landslides triggered by the quake caused “severe damage” in at least one town.

A road to another town was blocked and telecommunications lines in areas home to more than 10,000 people were severed, the broadcaster said, adding that shocks also forced some power stations offline in Garzê and Ya’an.

The earthquake and lockdown follow a heat wave and drought that led to water shortages and power cuts due to Sichuan’s reliance on hydropower. That comes on top of the latest major lockdown under China’s strict “zero-COVID” policy.

China’s deadliest earthquake in recent years was a 7.9 magnitude quake in 2008 that killed nearly 90,000 people in Sichuan. The temblor devastated towns, schools and rural communities outside Chengdu, leading to a years-long effort to rebuild with more resistant materials.

State media reported that several aftershocks were recorded in nearby areas. A smaller 4.6-magnitude tremor struck eastern Tibet less than an hour after the initial quake, according to the USGS.

Hundreds of rescue workers were dispatched to the epicentre, CCTV reported, showing footage of firefighters in orange jumpsuits boarding lorries and navigating a motorway littered with rocks and other debris.

The Sichuan seismological authority said more than 1,000 soldiers had been brought in to help rescue workers.

Authorities also sent thousands of tents, blankets and foldable beds to the affected areas, according to the broadcaster.

(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. To receive it on Telegram, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

RECENT STORIES

At least 129 dead following stampede at Indonesia football game

At least 129 dead following stampede at Indonesia football game

Islamabad magistrate issues arrest warrant against Imran Khan

Islamabad magistrate issues arrest warrant against Imran Khan

Ukraine official: Russia shells civilian convoy, kills 20

Ukraine official: Russia shells civilian convoy, kills 20

India foils China's attempt to bring resolution against AUKUS at IAEA

India foils China's attempt to bring resolution against AUKUS at IAEA

518-million-year-old armour worm could be ancestor of three major groups of living animals

518-million-year-old armour worm could be ancestor of three major groups of living animals