March 30, 2023

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Earthquake in China: New death toll 82, rain complicates research

The toll from the powerful earthquake that struck southwest China earlier this week rose further on Thursday, killing 82 people, as rain and the risk of landslides complicated the work of relief workers.

According to the United States Institute of Geological Studies (USGS), a 6.6-magnitude earthquake struck the rural town of Luding in the mountainous region of Sichuan on Monday.

According to the latest report by state television CCTV on Thursday, 46 people have died in the Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Kars, where the quake hit, and 36 in the neighboring city of Shimian.

The same source said more than 270 residents were injured and 35 were missing.

The weather service has predicted moderate rain and scattered showers over the region on Thursday and Friday.

“Landslides and mudslides are likely to occur due to this rain,” they warned.

More than 10,000 rescuers — army, paramilitary and firemen — are involved in rescue operations and preventing landslides.

To evacuate the victims, rescuers sometimes had to carry them with ropes and stretchers to cross the rivers of this mountainous region.

Rescue team member Dan Kay told CCTV that in the torrents, “you can’t see the stones under the water”.

“The water was up to our knees and thighs,” he added.

So far, more than 22,000 people have been evacuated and housed in 124 temporary shelters, the People’s Daily reported.

Also, about 1,800 schools in the region opened as usual on Wednesday.

At the time of Monday’s quake, more than 21,000 students and staff in the city of Shimian had to be evacuated, according to the ruling Chinese Communist Party’s reference newspaper.

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Hundreds of kilometers of electrical and optical cables were damaged by the earthquake. However, communications in the affected areas were “almost restored” on Thursday, China Youth Daily reported.