China earthquake kills at least a dozen and injures more than 130

The US Geological Survey put the magnitude of the main earthquake at 5.8

The toll from a strong 6.0-magnitude earthquake in south-west China rose to 12 dead and 134 injured on Tuesday as rescuers pulled bodies and survivors from wrecked buildings.

More than 4,000 people were relocated as dozens of structures were damaged or collapsed following an earthquake late on Monday outside Yibin in Sichuan province, said the city government.

State broadcaster CCTV showed footage of rescuers bringing a survivor out of the rubble of a building on a stretcher overnight. Other images showed a woman being helped out of another collapsed structure.

Images from Changning County showed an electricity pole knocked down on the roof of a building, a hole in a brick home and broken windows on the street.

Cracks appeared in several highways, and a major highway connecting Yibin and Xuyong County was closed, reported the official Xinhua news agency.

Xinhua reported overnight that a hotel close to the epicentre collapsed, but there was no immediate word of any casualties.

An early-warning alarm system was triggered in the provincial capital, Chengdu, about one minute before the earthquake struck, Xinhua said. The alert rang 10 seconds before it hit Yibin.

A three-second head start before an earthquake strikes can prevent 14 per cent of casualties, Xinhua said.

Nine people died in Changning County and three others in Qixian County, the Yibin city government said in its Twitter-like Weibo account, up from an initial death toll of six overnight.

More than 500 firefighters have been dispatched to the scene. Rescue personnel were also sent with 5,000 tents, 10,000 folding cots and other emergency supplies, Xinhua reported.

The area was hit by a series of at least four aftershocks, the largest of which had a magnitude of 5.1.

The US Geological Survey put the magnitude of the main quake at 5.8.

Earthquakes regularly strike Sichuan, where a powerful 7.9-magnitude quake left 87,000 people dead or missing in 2008.

In February, three earthquakes hit Rongxian county in the province, killing two people and injuring 12 others – casualties that residents blamed on fracking.

Updated: June 18, 2019 04:42 PM


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