Rescue teams battle landslides to reach Sichuan as 1,100 aftershocks follow 6.6 quake that left at least 200 people dead.
Emergency workers dressed in bright orange uniforms were making their way to remote areas on foot after roads were blocked by landslides. Soldiers worked all night to search villages and treat the injured, while local people slept in shelters or cars. The quake killed 203 and injured some 11,500, state media said. Among the injured were 960 people who were seriously wounded. Premier Li Keqiang is overseeing relief efforts, and told reporters the rescue was “our first duty”. i, who arrived on Saturday afternoon by helicopter, has visited hospitals and tents, and climbed on a pile of rubble to view the devastation. The BBC says dozens of injured people are still being treated in a triage centre outside the city’s hospital. Some villages close to the epicentre in Lushan county were left in ruins.Chen Yong, the vice-director of the Ya’an city government earthquake response office, said the death toll may not rise much more. “We understand the situation in most areas. Most of the casualties have been reported,” he said. “In some remote mountain areas, it is possible that we don’t fully understand the situation.”Ambulances, fire engines and military lorries piled high with supplies were waiting in long lines along blocked roads in the province on Sunday.More than 1,100 aftershocks have followed since the quake struck Sichuan province on Saturday morning.
Chinese seismologists registered the tremor at 7.0 magnitude while the US Geological Survey gave it as 6.6. Firefighters helped by sniffer dogs pulled 91 people alive from the rubble, Xinhua said, citing the Ministry of Public Security. A steady stream of ambulances continued to arrive at Lushan People’s Hospital on Sunday. Most survivors were taken to tents erected in the grounds surrounding the hospital, where doctors treated the wounded.Earthquake-prone Japan, which has been mired in tension with China over a high-seas territorial dispute, offered any help that was required.“Japan is ready to offer its maximum support,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said in a message to Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li, according to Japan’s foreign ministry. China responded that overseas help was not needed but it would contact Tokyo if the situation changed, the ministry said, according to Al Jazeera.