China mounts quake rescue operation

One dead and more than 300 injured as quake of magnitude 6 hits mountainous Yunnan region.

    Chinese television showed scenes of emergency teams setting up shelters at the site
     

    In depth

    Hundreds of thousands evacuated after quake

    Xinhua put the magnitude at 6.0 on the Richter scale, and said it was centred in the province's Yaoan county.

    The quake damaged nearly 40,000 homes and emergency officials were evacuating more than 400,000 people from the area, state media reported.

    The earthquake was followed by eight aftershocks, Xinhua said.

    Relief dispatched

    Yunnan's civil affairs department was sending 4,500 tents, 3,000 quilts and other relief materials to Yaoan, Xinhua said.

    Hundreds of police were dispatched to the disaster zone, it said.

    Yunnan is a quake-prone, mountainous region that lies on China's southern border with Thailand and Myanmar.

    It also borders Sichuan province, where a magnitude-7.9 quake last year left almost 90,000 people dead or missing.

    Al Jazeera's Tony Cheng, reporting from Beijing, said local television had been showing what appeared to be bodies under blankets, suggesting there may be more fatalities.

    The area, being quite remote and fairly mountainous, would make it hard to reach and difficult to get information from, our correspondent said.

    He said that most of the destroyed homes would have belonged to ethnic Tibetans who live in the region.

    Xinhua said medicine and food were also being distributed to people, many of whom had gathered outdoors for fear of more aftershocks.

    Quake-prone area

    Yunnan is a quake-prone, mountainous region that lies on China's southern border with Thailand and Myanmar.

    It also borders Sichuan province, where a magnitude 7.9 earthquake a little more than a year ago left nearly 90,000 people dead or missing.

    About 375,000 people were injured in the May 12 quake, which left five million homeless and up to 1.5 million people displaced.

    The deadliest quake to strike China in over 30 years flattened entire cities and towns, and destroyed hospitals, homes, buildings and factories in nearly 50,000 villages.

    Thousands of children were buried alive when some 7,000 schools collapsed in the quake.

    Southwest China sits on two tectonic plates - the Indian and Asian plates - whose constant collision created the Himalayan range and the Tibetan plateau.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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