4 killed, 14 injured as 6.1-magnitude earthquake causes extensive damage to China’s Sichuan province

Beijing/Chengdu, Jun 1 (PTI) At least four people were killed and 14 others injured when a powerful earthquake of 6.1-magnitude on Wednesday struck Ya’an city in China’s quake-prone southwestern Sichuan province, authorities said.

The quake rattled Lushan County of Ya’an city at 5:00 pm local time, according to the China Earthquake Networks Centre (CENC).

The epicenter, with a depth of 17 kilometers, was monitored at 30.4 degrees north latitude and 102.9 degrees east longitude, the CENC said.

The quake was followed by a 4.5-magnitude tremor three minutes later in Baoxing County, the city of Ya’an.

Four people were killed and 14 others injured in the quake, the state-run People’s Daily reported.

All the casualties were reported from Baoxing County, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported, quoting Ya’an city’s earthquake relief headquarters.

The four people, who died in the quake, were hit by falling rocks, it said, adding that the injured have been shifted to hospital for treatment.

The videos and photos posted in the social media showed the quake and aftershocks have caused landslides, damaged buildings including the houses built for those affected by the 7.9-magnitude earthquake in 2008 in the province located on the Tibetan plateau.

School children ran out from their classrooms while residents in different localities ran into the streets as the earthquake rattled the region followed by a series of aftershocks.

Telecommunication in parts of the two counties was damaged due to the quake, but some optical cables have been restored after emergency repairs.

Ya’an has activated the second-highest level of emergency response for the earthquake and is conducting damage assessments.

More than 4,500 personnel from emergency rescue, the armed police, the fire department, the medical sector and other departments were dispatched to the earthquake-hit areas to search for and rescue the injured, repair roads and relocate affected residents.

The provincial earthquake administration said that the 6.1-magnitude earthquake of Lushan was an aftershock from the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that killed more than 100 people and injured thousands in 2013.

Sichuan province suffered China’s deadliest 7.9-magnitude earthquake in 2008 in which 90,000 people were killed.

The Ministry of Emergency Management said an A level-III national emergency response has been activated to conduct the relief operations.

A work team has been dispatched to guide and assist the local emergency rescue efforts, the ministry said.

Local firefighters have reached the epicentre, while quake rescue teams of Sichuan and other neighbouring regions are on standby for relief operations, the ministry added.