China's Sichuan province shaken by powerful quake
At least 124 people are reported dead and more than 2,600 injured, after a magnitude-6.6 earthquake struck China's Sichuan province Saturday. The area was also devastated by the 2008 magnitude-7.9 earthquake.
A powerful earthquake struck the steep hills of China's southwestern Sichuan province Saturday, leaving at least 124 people dead and more than 2,600 injured, nearly five years after a devastating quake wreaked widespread damage across the region.Skip to next paragraph
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Saturday's quake, while not as destructive as that in 2008, toppled buildings, triggered landslides and disrupted phone and power connections in mountainous Lushan county. The village of Longmen was hit particularly hard, with authorities saying nearly all the buildings there had been destroyed in a frightening minute-long shaking by the quake.
"It was such a big quake that everyone was scared," said a woman who answered a phone at a kindergarten hours later and declined to give her name. "We all fled for our lives."
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Rescuers turned the square outside the Lushan County Hospital into a triage center, where medical personnel bandaged bleeding victims, according to footage on ChinaCentral Television. Rescuers dynamited boulders that had fallen across roads to reach Longmen and other damaged areas lying farther up the mountain valleys, state media reported.
The China Earthquake Administration said at least 124 people had died. The government of Ya'an city, which administers Lushan, said in a statement that more than 2,600 people were injured, 330 of them severely.
The quake — measured by the earthquake administration at magnitude-7.0 and the U.S. Geological Survey at 6.6 — struck the steep hills of Lushan county shortly after 8 a.m., when many people were at home, sleeping or having breakfast. People in their underwear and wrapped in blankets ran into the streets of Ya'an and even the provincial capital of Chengdu, 70 miles east of Lushan, according to photos, video and accounts posted online.
The quake's shallow depth, less than 8 miles, likely magnified the impact, and CCTV showed footage from local security cameras that were shaking. Chengdu's airport shut down for about an hour before reopening, though many flights were canceled or delayed, state media said.
Lushan, where the quake struck, lies where the fertile Sichuan plain meets foothills that eventually rise to the Tibetan plateau and sits atop the Longmenshan fault. It was along that fault line that the devastating magnitude-7.9 quake struck on May 12, 2008, leaving more than 90,000 people dead or missing and presumed dead in one of the worst natural disasters to strike China in recent decades.