Rain and floods hamper earthquake rescue mission in China

Dozens of people remain missing after a magnitude 6.8 earthquake hit Sichuan province, killing at least 82 people.

Rescue workers carry an injured person in Luding county, Ganzi prefecture in China's southwestern Sichuan province [CNS via AFP]

The search for dozens of missing people has been hit by rain, flash floods and mudslides days after a strong earthquake rocked mountainous southwest China and killed at least 82.

The national weather service issued a yellow alert until Thursday night warning of a “risk of geological disaster” and forecast moderate rain to continue to Friday with heavy showers in some areas.

The 6.8 magnitude earthquake hit about 43km (26 miles) southeast of the city of Kangding in Sichuan province at a depth of 10km on Monday, according to the US Geological Survey, forcing thousands to be resettled into temporary camps.

State broadcaster CCTV said 46 people died in Ganzi prefecture near the epicentre, while 36 deaths were reported in neighbouring Ya’an city.

More than 270 others were injured while the number of missing remained at 35, CCTV reported.

“Since the post-earthquake geological conditions are inherently fragile, and the impact of additional rainfall may lead to landslides and mudslides, the local area needs to beware of secondary disasters,” China’s meteorological administration said.

The People’s Liberation Army, paramilitary police, and fire rescue services dispatched more than 10,000 workers to the area, who continued search operations and landslide clean-up efforts in the remote countryside.

China’s state-run Global Times news outlet reported on Tuesday that more than 50,000 people have been relocated following the earthquake.

State media reported that 243 houses had collapsed and 13,010 had been damaged.

Workers raced to fix hundreds of kilometres of power and optical cables, with communications in affected areas “basically restored” as of Thursday, the China Youth Daily reported.

Local authorities have received 100 million yuan ($14m) in disaster relief donations so far, the report said, and the Sichuan government issued an emergency notice requiring local authorities to dish out hardship allowances for affected people.

Paramilitary police officers head to Shimian county for search-and-rescue operations [CNS via Reuters]
Source: News Agencies