Wed | Nov 22, 2017

Strong quake strikes southwest China, killing at least 7

Published:Wednesday | August 9, 2017 | 12:00 AM

BEIJING (AP):

A strong earthquake shook a mountainous region in southwestern China near a famous national park, killing seven people, injuring 88 others and knocking out power and phone networks.

At least five of the dead were tourists. The information office of the Sichuan province government released an updated number of casualties early Wednesday, but it didn't have more details on the victims of the Tuesday evening quake, China's official Xinhua News Agency said. The office said 21 people were seriously injured.

Chinese President Xi Jinping called for rapid efforts to respond to the quake and rescue the injured. Authorities sent medical teams, rescuers and other resources.

The magnitude-6.5 quake struck a region bordered by the provinces of Sichuan and Gansu at a depth of just 9 kilometres (5.5 miles), according to the US Geological Survey. Shallow earthquakes tend to cause more damage than deeper ones.

The China Earthquake Networks Center measured the earthquake at magnitude-7.0 and said it struck at a depth of 20 kilometers (12 miles). The quake occurred around 9:20 p.m. near Jiuzhaigou, or Jiuzhai Valley, a national park known for spectacular waterfalls and karst formations, the Chinese agency said.

The area is located on the edge of the Tibetan Plateau in northern Sichuan province, home to many Tibetan and other ethnic minority villages.

A man surnamed Song who answered the phone at a local emergency office in Aba prefecture, where the Jiuzhaigou national park is located, said the nearby town of Zhangzha reported the deaths and injuries. Song did not say where the five tourists who died were from.

Earthquakes are common in China's west, although the low population density there often means casualties are low. China's deadliest earthquake this century, a magnitude-7.9 temblor with a depth of 19 kilometers (12 miles), struck Sichuan province in May 2008, killing nearly 90,000 people.