South West China quake kills 107, buries nearly 900

May 12th, 2008 - 7:59 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, May 12 (ANI): At least 107 people have been reported killed by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake in southwest China on Monday.
The official Xinhua news agency said that nearly 900 students had been buried in the densely populated areas of southwestern China.
At least four children were killed and over 100 were injured when the quake toppled two primary schools in the city of Chongqing near the epicentre.
Another person was killed in neighbouring Sichuan province by a collapsing water tower.
The quake struck 93 kilometres from Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, and about 260 kilometres from Chongqing.
The State Seismological Bureau located its epicentre in Wenchuan County. Buildings shook in Beijing and Shanghai, residents reported, however there were no immediate reports of damage there. Tremors were also felt in Bangkok, Hong Kong, Hanoi and Taipei, residents said.
China’s Three Gorges Dam was not damaged by the quake, Xinhua said in a separate report.
Details of their plight were still coming through but reports said that the students were buried when their school building collapsed in Dujiangyan.
Buildings also collapsed in the town of Wenchuan. Communications to the town appeared to have been severed, with calls failing to connect to both fixed line and mobile telephones.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao is trying to reach the epicentre after the tremor rocked the region at a depth of 18 miles this afternoon.
The decision to send Jiabao was the first hint that officials feared a high casualty toll in a region with a large Tibetan population that has seen anti-Chinese unrest in recent weeks.
Troops have already been sent to help with disaster relief work in Wenchuan, a city of about 111,000 people in Sichuan.
Wenchuan is best known as the home of the Wolong Nature Reserve, China’s leading research and breeding base for the endangered giant panda. Calls to the base failed to connect.
The government in Aba prefecture of Sichuan province said buildings had collapsed and many were cracked. Mountain roads had been damaged.
The earthquake was felt as far away as Vietnam and Thailand, startling office workers in high-rise buildings. There were no reports of damage. In Beijing, office workers rushed in panic out of towers in the capitals financial district.
One of Chinas tallest buildings, the Jinmao Tower in Shanghai, as well as other skyscrapers were ordered to evacuate after the tremor and aftershocks.
Chinas worst earthquake in modern history was centred in the northern city of Tangshan and killed some 250,000 people on July 27, 1976. That tremor lasted for 15 seconds and flattened 90 percent of buildings. It was the deadliest in the world of the 20th century. (ANI)

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