China earthquake: rescuers search for survivors after at least 65 killed

More than 200 people are still trapped in a remote scenic area while scores are missing elsewhere

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Rescuers searched through rubble for hundreds of missing people in parts of south-western China on Tuesday after an earthquake killed at least 65 people, with local weather services issuing a warning that rain was set to inundate the area.

The magnitude 6.6 quake hit about 43 kilometres south-east of the city of Kangding, in Sichuan province, at a depth of 10km on Monday, the US Geological Survey said.

More than 200 people are still trapped in a remote scenic area while scores are missing elsewhere, state media reported on Tuesday morning.

State broadcaster CCTV showed firefighters pulling a bruised and bloodied woman from the rubble and carrying a survivor on a stretcher across a river on a makeshift bridge. It also showed damaged buildings and streets strewn with fallen masonry.

Footage shared by the China Earthquake Networks Centre showed boulders thundering down mountainsides in Luding county, kicking up clouds of dust as the tremors swayed roadside telephone wires.

At least one town suffered “severe damage” from landslides triggered by the quake, CCTV reported.

“Before 5 o'clock, I heard a rumbling sound. The house shook so badly that I woke up immediately,” a woman called Zheng, from Sichuan's Lu county, told Beijing News.

“My brother's house collapsed. His house is an old one built more than 10 years ago. My house is newly built, so the situation is better.”

Rescuers carry survivors across a river on the outskirts of Moxi, a town in China's Sichuan province, after an earthquake hit on Monday. AP

The quake also rocked buildings in the provincial capital of Chengdu, where millions are confined to their homes under a strict Covid-19 lockdown, and in the nearby city of Chongqing, residents told AFP.

At least 10 aftershocks of magnitude 3.0 and above had been detected as of 7am local time, CCTV said.

No damage to dams and hydroelectric power stations within 50km of the epicentre was reported, although damage to the provincial grid had affected power to about 40,000 end users.

Saudi Arabia expressed solidarity with China after the earthquake, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Tuesday, with the kingdom's Foreign Ministry offering its condolences to the Chinese people and wishing the injured a speedy recovery.

The earthquake was Sichuan's biggest since August 2017, when a magnitude 7.0 quake hit Aba prefecture.

The most powerful Sichuan earthquake on record was in May 2008, when a magnitude 8.0 quake centred in Wenchuan killed about 70,000 people and caused extensive damage.

Updated: September 06, 2022, 5:45 AM
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