China earthquake: Toll in 6.0 magnitude quake increases to 12 as more than 4,000 people relocate due to collapsing structures

Beijing: The toll from a strong 6.0-magnitude earthquake in southwest China rose to 12 dead and 134 injured on Tuesday as rescuers pulled bodies and survivors from wrecked buildings.

More than 4,000 people were relocated as a large number of structures were damaged or collapsed following late Monday's earthquake outside Yibin in Sichuan province, according to the city government.

State broadcaster CCTV showed footage of rescuers bringing a survivor out of the rubble of a building on a stretcher overnight. Other images showed a woman being helped out of another collapsed structure.

Images from Changning county showed an electricity pole knocked down on the roof of a building, a hole in a brick home and broken windows on the street.

 China earthquake: Toll in 6.0 magnitude quake increases to 12 as more than 4,000 people relocate due to collapsing structures

Rescue workers search for survivors in the rubble after earthquakes hit Changning county in Yibin, Sichuan province, China, June 18, 2019. Reuters

Cracks appeared in several roads and a major highway connecting Yibin and Xuyong county were closed, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

Mud and rock slipped from the side of a hill, blocking a road and wrapping around a truck, according to CCTV footage. More than 10,000 rooms within an undisclosed number of buildings were moderately damaged while 12 collapsed, according to Yibin authorities. The homes of more than 4,000 families were damaged in Gong county.

An early warning alarm system was triggered in the provincial capital Chengdu about one minute before the earthquake struck, Xinhua said. The alert rang 10 seconds before it hit Yibin. A three-second headstart before an earthquake strikes can prevent 14 percent of casualties, Xinhua said.

Nine people died in Changning county and three others in Qixian county, the Yibin city government said in its Twitter-like Weibo account, up from an initial death toll of six overnight.

Rescuers pulled six bodies and seven survivors from buildings, it said. Xinhua reported that more than 50 people were being treated in two hospitals.

More than 500 firefighters have been dispatched to the scene. The National Food and Strategic Reserves Administration and the Ministry of Emergency Management sent  5,000 tents, 10,000 folding cots, and other emergency supplies, Xinhua added.

The area was hit by a series of at least four aftershocks, the largest of which had a magnitude of 5.1. The United States Geological Survey put the magnitude of the main quake at 5.8.

Earthquakes regularly strike Sichuan, where a powerful 7.9-magnitude quake left 87,000 people dead or missing in 2008.

In February, three earthquakes hit Rongxian county in the province, killing two people and injuring 12 others, casualties that residents blamed on fracking. Local authorities later halted shale gas mining after thousands of residents protested.

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Updated Date: Jun 18, 2019 15:43:01 IST