60,000 Evacuated as Sichuan Recovers From 7.0 Magnitude Earthquake

By Jesse Pottinger, August 10, 2017

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Following the massive earthquake that struck Sichuan late on Tuesday, approximately 60,000 people have been evacuated from the north of the province, with 19 confirmed deaths and 247 reported injuries as of 8pm Wednesday, according to Shanghai Daily.

The epicenter of the 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit Jiuzhaigou county, a popular destination for both Chinese and foreign tourists, leaving many visitors stranded in Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve overnight.

Both tourists and local residents have been evacuated amid the crisis, and the area has been devastated by cracked roads, damaged infrastructure and landslides.

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The seismic disaster is the second in under 10 years to ravage Jiuzhaigou and the surrounding area, with memories of the 2008 earthquake still fresh in the minds of those native to the region.

So much so, in fact, that as the earthquake struck, the Jiuzhaigou Qianli Performing Arts Center was partially through a nightly performance commemorating the previous disaster, PCauto.com.cn reports.

Sichuan earthquake

Director of the Sichuan Health and Family Planning Commission, Shen Ji, stated that more than 500 medical personnel and over 30 ambulances have been deployed, with an additional 200-person medical aid team on standby in Gansu province.

A team from the Sichuan Disease Control and Prevention Center has also been sent to determine possible health threats and prevent the spread of disease, and more than 800 workers continue to search villages for anyone that may still be trapped.

By 5am Wednesday, most rocks and debris had been cleared from roads, and by about 6am, the first 100 emergency rescue workers arrived at Jiuzhai-Huanglong Airport.

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Shanghai Daily reports that taxi drivers from bordering Songpa county are providing free food and drinks at the airport and offering free rides to workers and passengers who are stranded.

With rain in the forecast for Jiuzhaigou region, meteorologists caution of the potential for further disasters, including flooding and landslides, in the coming days.

READ MORE: Over 90 People Still Missing After Sichuan Landslide

Throughout the 17 townships of Jiuzhaigou, at least 1,680 homes have been damaged to varying degrees, and the landscape that has attracted so many to the region over the years has seen similar devastation. 

The aftermath at Sparkling Lake in Jiuzhaigou National Park, a destination frequented by tourists, demonstrates the extent of the impact, with post-earthquake photo showing the body of water nearly dried up.

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On a more positive note, satellite images from China’s Gaofeng-2 and Gaofeng-4 satellites revealed no major damage or collapse of buildings near the earthquakes epicenter, according to Xinhua News.

Additionally, Xinhua News stated that all the pandas at the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda’s three locations in Sichuan are reported to be safe. This is in contrast to the 2008 earthquake, which, on top of the 87,000 dead or missing civilians, resulted in two dead pandas, as well as 14 injured and one missing.

READ MORE: Then and Now: 7 Years on from the 2008 Sichuan Earthquake, Survivors Still Struggle to Cope

[Images via ecns.cnPCauto.com.cn, Xinhua h/t China Daily]

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