china earthquake administration

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All-out rescue underway after Yunnan quake

Rescuers are racing against time to save lives on Tuesday after a deadly quake jolted southwest China’s Yunnan Province on Sunday afternoon, leaving at least 410 dead and thousands injured.

Firefighters, soldiers, doctors and volunteers concentrated efforts to evacuate villages near flooded areas after landslides blocked rivers, further complicating relief efforts.

Professional medical teams and experts have also been dispatched from nearby provinces and Beijing, Chengdu, Shanghai and Guangzhou.

Rising barrier lakes, created by landslides, are posing a new threat to about 800 residents and seven power stations downstream. Sudden flooding could result in widespread power outages, Xinhua reported.

Over one million people in Ludian, Qiaojia, Zhaoyang counties of Zhaotong City, and Huize County in the neighboring city of Qujing in Yunnan Province have been affected. Nearly 230,000 people have been relocated to safer areas.

Here is a quick recap of the major events since the earthquake struck Yunnan on Sunday:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9IcWKefK6s&list=UUgrNz-aDmcr2uuto8_DL2jg&index=11

“This is the most serious earthquake in Yunnan since 2000. The hypocenter was shallow with a depth of just 12 kilometers,” said Chen Hong, Deputy Director of the Institute of Crustal Dynamics at the China Earthquake Administration.

Most streets in Longtoushan Township–the epicenter of the quake–were completely destroyed.

"The population density in the affected areas is about 270 persons per square kilometer. The houses are basically built in wood and brick, and are not strong enough to resist the shock,” Chen added.

As of 2 pm Tuesday BJT, more than 630 aftershocks had been recorded. Experts warned that aftershocks and secondary disasters could cause massive damage if preventative measures are not taken.

Continual rain has been hampering rescue work in the disaster-hit areas. More rain is forecast in the coming three days, increasing the risk of epidemics.

The National Committee for Disaster Reduction has lifted the national disaster relief level from grade III to I at 11 am Monday, the highest alert possible.