China Rocked By Powerful 6.6 Magnitude Temblor Saturday Morning
Lawrence LeBlond for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online
A powerful earthquake rocked China´s Sichuan Province Saturday morning at 8:02 a.m. EDT (0002 GMT), killing at least 150 people and injuring more than 5,500, according to USA Today. It is the worst earthquake to strike the region in three years, close to where a 2008 temblor struck that took the lives of close to a hundred thousand people.
Saturday´s earthquake measured a magnitude 6.6 in the remote southwestern mountains of Lushan County near the city of Ya´an. The quake occurred along the Longmenshan fault line and was recorded at a depth of 7.5 miles, according to the USGS. The impact was likely magnified due to the relatively shallow depth of the temblor.
The shockwave was felt throughout neighboring provinces, causing many people to flee buildings and into the streets, many people alerted via social network posts. Most of the deaths were concentrated in Lushan County.
China´s Premier Li Keqiang ordered all possible efforts to rescue victims, reported Xinhua news agency on Saturday. Li flew into the disaster zone by helicopter to voice his support for the rescue operation. He said the “first 72 hours is the golden period for rescue“¦ We cannot delay by a minute.
“We once underwent catastrophes and have experience in dealing with them. We have quite a fine emergency response system,” Li said, adding that “under the strong leadership of the Party and government, and as long as we unite as one conducting rescue work scientifically, we are able to minimize the losses and overcome the disaster.”
In all, more than 7,000 soldiers and armed police were sent to the disaster region as well as more than 1,000 provincial rescue workers and hundreds of doctors and healthcare workers. The quick response of the authorities will likely win the Chinese government support from its citizens. Growing concerns have gripped the country´s people that corruption has overtaken the government.
Besides commitments from the government, Chinese Internet users also focused on lending a helping hand, at least electronically. Bloggers turned to the country´s version of Twitter, Sina Weibo, posting images and texts and asking for help from others.
Organizations and individuals were quick to respond to aid in the disaster rescue, recovery and relief efforts. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies were in discussions Saturday as well with the Red Cross Society of China to determine if international support was needed.
Since the initial earthquake occurred, Lushan County recorded an additional 789 aftershocks, according to the China Earthquake Administration.