Quake relief rushed amid search for survivors

Top News | AFP 11 Aug 2017

China ramped up its response to an earthquake that killed 20 people and injured hundreds, sending supplies and personnel into the mountainous zone as rescuers fanned out to search for more victims.

Dozens of relief and military trucks rolled into Jiuzhaigou, a popular tourist destination near the epicenter of Tuesday night's 6.5-magnitude quake in a remote corner of Sichuan province.

Locals took refuge in tents at several makeshift camps or out on the streets as more than a thousand aftershocks jolted the region and landslides kept nerves on edge.

Jiuzhaigou is an area populated largely by Tibetans and Qiang people. Its scenic landscape is popular with mainly Chinese tourists who flock to its national park, which is a Unesco World Heritage site.

Nearly 60,000 people - around half of whom were tourists - were moved out of quake-hit towns and villages on Wednesday.

Authorities were seeking to help more victims yesterday, with the Sichuan provincial fire department saying 16 tourists were stranded in a picturesque spot called Panda Sea.

More than 500 medical staff have been sent to the disaster zone. Rescue workers are searching for at least four people still missing.

Yang Yongzhi was among a search team in red jumpsuits and hardhats who were forced by landslides to turn back on Wednesday night after trying to press into cut-off valleys. "We're responsible for finding if there are still people trapped over there. We're the first to go check," Yang said .

The tremor evoked memories of a devastating 8.0-magnitude earthquake in the region in 2008 that left 87,000 people dead or missing, but the impact of Tuesday's disaster was comparatively light.

The earthquake tore cracks in mountain highways and cars were smashed by falling boulders.

Authorities brought the death toll up to 20 yesterday, with 431 injured, 34 seriously. A Frenchman and a Canadian woman were among those hurt.

One Jiuzhaigou hotel partly collapsed and the body of a woman was pulled out of the rubble.

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