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7.0-magnitude quake hits China's Sichuan Province; 5 killed

Press Trust of India  |  Beijing 

A 7.0-magnitude earthquake tonight jolted popular tourist destination of Jiuzhaigou in China's southwestern Sichuan Province, killing at least five people and injuring more than 60, the state media reported.

Officials, however, feared the death toll could be much higher as rescue work peaks tomorrow morning.

Citing a statement issued by the Earthquake Networks Centre (CENC), the state-run Xinhua agency reported that the quake occurred around 9.19 PM (local time) and struck at a depth of 20 kilometres.

State-run television confirmed that five people were killed and more than 60 injured in the quake.

All the dead were tourists, it said.

The condition of 30 injured was stated to be serious.

At least 106 aftershocks were recorded as of 11 PM (local time), according to the CENC.

A total of 610 fire officers and soldiers, and eight sniffer dogs were dispatched to the scene after the quake, Xinhua reported.

The Earthquake Administration has activated level-I emergency response procedures following the earthquake.

has a four-level earthquake emergency response system, with level-I being the top.

Work teams have been sent to the affected area to carry out emergency operations, the local administration said.

An employee at the Jiuzhaigou National Park said homes had collapsed in one of the valleys, and buildings were being evacuated, according to a report.

The park said it had 38,799 visitors today.

Jiuzhaigou, or Jiuzhai Valley, is a national park known for spectacular waterfalls and karst formations. More than 34,000 people visited the tourist attraction today.

Photos posted on showed shattered windows, damaged walls and people standing out on streets.

Sangey, a staff worker with the popular Jiuzhaigou tourist site, told Xinhua over telephone that some houses in the scenic spot collapsed and authorities are organising young people to help evacuate residents.

Li Changyong, head of the Jiuzhaigou county health and family planning bureau, said the quake was strongly felt in the county seat, 35 km from the epicentre, and many residents rushed outside their buildings.

Yu Qian, a local taxation bureau official, said she felt strong tremor in her home on the fifth floor.

Yu said the power was cut off in her neighbourhood and quake disrupted telephone service linking the scenic area where some of her colleagues worked and lived.

The quake was also strongly felt in the provincial capital Chengdu, about 300 km south of the epicentre.

The quake also disrupted railway services. The Sichuan railway bureau suspended 14 trains.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, August 08 2017. 23:42 IST