BEIJING - Nine people have been killed, including six tourists, and 164 injured in an earthquake that struck a remote and mountainous part of southwest China’s Sichuan province on Tuesday (Aug 8), the local government and official media said on Wednesday.
Also on Wednesday, a strong earthquake of magnitude 6.3 struck near the city of Yining in Xinjiang province close to the Kazakhstan border, the US Geological Survey said. Xinhua said the quake measured 6.6.
The quake in Xinjiang came after Tuesday's tremor which hit a sparsely populated area 200km west-northwest of the city of Guangyuan at a depth of 10km, the USGS said. It had earlier put the quake at magnitude 6.6 and 32km deep.
The Sichuan earthquake administration said the epicentre of the tremor was in Ngawa prefecture, largely populated by ethnic Tibetans, many of whom are nomadic herders. It was also close to the Jiuzhaigou nature reserve, a tourist destination.
The Sichuan government said 100 tourists had been trapped by a landslide following the quake. The official China News Service said on Wednesday that six tourists were among the dead.
As many as 31,500 tourists have been evacuated from the quake zone, the official Xinhua news agency said on Wednesday morning.
The Sichuan fire service said the reception area in a hotel had collapsed, trapping some people, but that 2,800 people had been safely evacuated from the building.
State television said another tourist had been pulled out alive from rubble in a different part of Jiuzhaigou.
AREA OFTEN HIT
While there was no confirmation of their nationalities, Jiuzhaigou is far more popular with Chinese tourists than foreigners, meaning the dead were likely to be Chinese.
The area is frequently struck by earthquakes.
Pictures on state media-run social media sites showed some damage in Jiuzhaigou, with tiles having fallen from buildings and people gathering outdoors.
State television said electricity had now largely been restored to the affected areas and the military was also sending rescuers to help with relief efforts. Jiuzhaigou airport was operating as normal after the runway was checked for damage, the report added.
A police official told state television that there had been some panic among the tourists when the quake hit.
The Sichuan government said on one of its official social media sites that more than 38,000 tourists were currently visiting Jiuzhaigou.
Shaking was felt in the provincial capital Chengdu and as far away as Xian, home of the famous Terracotta Warrior figures, according to users of Chinese social media.
A quake in Sichuan in May 2008 killed almost 70,000 people.