At least 65 people were killed and hundreds were injured in the strong earthquake that caused landslides and rattled buildings in southwestern China, Chinese official media said that about 250 people were being treated for disaster-related injuries, with many in severe condition.
A day after the 6.8 magnitude earthquake, at least 16 more individuals are still unaccounted for in Luding county, Sichuan province, which is located on the Tibetan Plateau’s edge where tectonic plates collide and frequently experience earthquakes. Buildings in Chengdu, the province capital, which is already in a COVID-19 lockdown and has a population of 21 million, were shaken by the earthquake.
Experts on Tuesday warned of concerns from several dammed lakes that have formed after the earthquake, especially because heavy rains are predicted over the next three days.
For search and rescue teams, the prospect of a storm and the poor driving conditions made things more challenging. The temperature is projected to dip as low as 12 degrees Celsius (53.6 degrees Fahrenheit) during the next two days, and the local weather bureau has predicted rain while issuing a landslide and another geological disaster warning.
To assess the condition upstream of Wandong River, the principal tributary of Dadu River, officials were considering using drones in the air.
According to official media, rescuers are also attempting to find over 200 individuals who are still missing in the earthquake zone, restore telecommunications, power, and water services, and distribute food supplies to the area’s impacted citizens.
By 7 am on Tuesday, the death toll had grown to include 28 residents of Shimian county in Yaan city.12 residents of the Garze prefecture were still unaccounted for. 37 people were killed in the historic town of Moxi in the Tibetan autonomous prefecture of Garze, where buildings were damaged and power was knocked out. According to the official Xinhua News Agency, tents were set up for more than 50,000 individuals who were being relocated from residences that were now dangerous due to the earthquake.
According to state broadcaster CCTV, more than 6,500 rescuers and medical personnel were dispatched to the area. Four helicopters and two drones were also sent to Luding and Shimian counties, two of the hardest-hit areas.
According to CCTV, the lone entrance to the well-known tourist site Hailuogou National Geological Park is shut down, trapping 200 people inside.
State media said that telecommunications, water, and electricity facilities were seriously damaged in Luding, the epicenter of the earthquake.
It further stated that 13,010 homes had been damaged and 243 had collapsed. Numerous house stays and four motels were also impacted.
Several communities lost power as a result of the earthquake, and seven small- to medium-sized hydroelectric facilities also sustained damage.
The 7.0 magnitude earthquake that struck the Aba prefecture north of Luding in August 2017 was Sichuan’s largest earthquake before Monday’s catastrophe.
The worst earthquake to hit Sichuan and China in recent years was the magnitude 8.0 quake that struck Wenchuan and killed close to 70,000 people in 2008.
A 7.9 magnitude earthquake that struck Sichuan in 2008 and killed approximately 90,000 people was the deadliest earthquake to strike China in recent memory. The earthquake outside Chengdu destroyed towns, schools, and rural settlements, sparking a years-long effort to rebuild with stronger materials.