China orders mass evacuation from quake area (Roundup)

May 30th, 2008 - 8:38 pm ICT by admin  

Mianyang(China), May 30 (Xinhua) China Friday ordered evacuation of 1.3 million people from the quake-hit Sichuan province to higher grounds for fear of a rapidly swelling “quake lake” burst as the quake toll reached beyond 68,000. Tan Li, chief of Mianyang city quake control and relief headquarters, Friday issued order that 1.3 million people living downstream of Tangjiashan, a dangerously swelling quake-created lake, must evacuate to higher grounds demarcated by government departments.

The lake formed by landslides that blocked the Jianjiang river after the quake, which is at risk of breaching its bank, worsened as downpour started around the Tangjiashan, driving up the water level in the lake.

Tangjiashan, one of the 35 lakes created in the 8.0-magnitude quake of March 12 in the northwest, is inaccessible by road and can only be reached by foot or air.

Meanwhile, the toll in the killer quake reached 68,858 Friday, the State Council said, adding some 18,618 people were missing.

The seismological observatory in Sichuan predicted that aftershocks would continue along the northern end of the Wenchuan-Beichuan-Qingchuan faultline in the coming days.

From Thursday noon to Friday noon, the region experienced 174 aftershocks were monitored in southwest China’s quake zones.

The province has till date experienced more than 9000 aftershocks, the strongest being of 6.4 magnitude which killed eight people last week.

More than two weeks after the quake, relief teams rescued 6,541 people from under the rubble and evacuated 764,788 to safety.

Authorities set up 3,400 temporary shelters and 664,500 tents have been sent to the quake areas.

Another 6,300 temporary shelters were being erected and 23,500 being shipped to the quake regions as part of emergency measures to house some 45.55 million homeless.

Domestic and foreign donations stood at 39.9 billion yuan ($5.7 billion), up 2.6 billion yuan since Thursday. About 10.7 billion yuan in cash and goods had been forwarded to the disaster area.

Government disaster relief funds have hit 22.42 billion yuan, up 1.48 billion yuan overnight. The fund included 18.14 billion yuan from the central government and 4.28 billion yuan from local governments.

Zhai Panmao, deputy director of prediction and disaster management centre, Friday said China reported some abnormal weather conditions this spring in both temperature and precipitation.

The average temperature in the country since the beginning of this year stood at 11.2 degrees Celsius, the highest during this period since 1951.

Northern China, including the northeast, Xinjiang Uygur region, Mongolia, and Henan province, registered a notable increase in average temperature, rising by two to four degrees Celsius, Zhai said.

In terms of rainfall, he said China had recorded an average precipitation of 124.1 mm so far this year, down from the same period in the previous years

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