China

China Rushes Relief after Earthquake kills at least 192 People

汶川大地震,都江堰一名老婦被困50小時後,成功獲消防人員救出。An elderly woma...

汶川大地震,都江堰一名老婦被困50小時後,成功獲消防人員救出。An elderly woman was rescued after being trapped for over 50 hours. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Death toll from the earthquake Saturday, April 20, in Lushan County, Sichuan Province has risen to 192, with 23 missing and more than 11,000 injured, authorities said.

A 7.0-magnitude earthquake that struck the southwestern Chinese province of Sichuan has sent nearly 8,200 to local hospitals and created a dire dearth of drinking water, Chinese state-run Xinhua reported Sunday.

A total of 3,244 aftershocks in Sichuan Province have been recorded as of 6:00 a.m. Tuesday, said China Earthquake Administration. There were 100 aftershocks above 3.0-magnitude, including four between 5.0 and 5.9 magnitude and 21 between 4.0 and 4.9 magnitude, said the administration.

More than 18,000 soldiers and police have been mobilized in the rescue efforts, state news agency reported on Sunday.

Twenty-three helicopters from the armed forces were also being deployed to help out in the operations, Xinhua said on Sunday, quoting an official statement.

The Chinese government allocated 3 million Yuan (about $480,400) to rescue and relief efforts Sunday, a day after Chinese Premier Li Keqiang traveled to the area from Beijing, state media reported.

Officials have set up an outdoors hospital in Ya-an, the city closest to the epicenter, according to BBC World News.

“The biggest problem is that the worst-hit spots are spread out in the mountains and it is very hard for rescuers to get the injured people out,” said Zhou Shaohua, chief surgeon at the People’s Hospital of Lushan.

“It takes hours for them to be able to reach a place where they can catch a vehicle.”

(Raw Footage: China Hit by massive earthquake 20/04/2013)

Pia MacRae, Country Director for Save the Children in China, told Al Jazeera that aftershocks and mudslides had caused huge problems for aid workers for the international children’s charity in trying to reach remote areas.

MacRae said that Save the Children teams, many of whom responded to the 2008 Sichuan earthquake disaster, and government troops had managed to bring in supplies on foot to some remote areas by Sunday night.

In some cases, roads closed to non-emergency traffic have been clogged with all kinds of government vehicles.

The Chinese premier Li Keqiang flew into the disaster zone, where he met rescuers and survivors.

“Treat and heal your wounds with peace of mind,” Xinhua quoted Li as telling patients at a hospital. “The government will take care of all the costs for those severely wounded.”

While many have praised the government for its swift response, growing anger among some underscores the government’s challenge, magnified by the fact that Sichuan bore the brunt of a 7.9 earthquake in 2008 that killed nearly 70,000 people, according to Reuters.

“It will not end as long as there is a ray of hope,” according to a Monday statement from the press center of the rescue and relief headquarters based at the epicenter of Lushan.

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