December 9, 2022

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Magnitude 6.6 earthquake in China. At least 7 people are dead and several buildings are badly damaged

At least seven dead and several “severely damaged” buildings represent the first official toll of a strong earthquake with a magnitude of 6.6.

The earthquake that occurred on Monday in a mountainous area in southwest China was announced by state media and local authorities, AFP informs, according to Agerpres.

The earthquake was recorded at 12:52 local time (04:52 GMT) in Sichuan province, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) – a global reference body in the field of earthquakes – said.

The depth of the earthquake was estimated at 10 kilometers, and the epicenter was 39 kilometers from Luding County, Chinese public television CCTV announced.

A video released by the New China News Agency shows swinging chandeliers, concrete facades of buildings collapsed to the ground and rocks blocking a road after a landslide.

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The earthquake was also felt at a distance of 200 kilometers, in the capital of Sichuan province, the metropolis of Chengdu, whose 21 million inhabitants are currently in home quarantine due to an outbreak of COVID-19.

The first official tally of the earthquake indicates seven victims, CCTV said, citing statements made in a press conference by the authorities of Garze prefecture, which administers Luding canton.

“Homes were severely damaged” and “telecommunications were interrupted” in certain areas near the epicenter of the earthquake, the Chinese authorities revealed.

Clouds of dust

The earthquake was “relatively strong,” said Chengdu resident Ms. Chen, who did not want to give her full name.

“Some of my downstairs neighbors said they felt it very strongly,” she added.

Since the city of Chengdu is under lockdown, “people are not allowed to leave their homes, and many have rushed out into the courtyards” in front of the residential complexes, said the same local woman.

For the moment, the Chinese authorities have not specified the extent of material damage found in this metropolis.

Chengdu extended home quarantine for its residents on Sunday after several hundred new cases of COVID-19 were detected in the city.

Near the epicenter of the earthquake, telecommunications with Moxi, a small town with 7,000 inhabitants, were interrupted, stated the public television CGTN.

A video released by the China Seismic Network Center shows rocks collapsing on a hill in Luding County, sending up a cloud of dust, as well as telephone lines swaying violently under the earthquake.

More than 500 firefighters and members of rescue teams were sent to the epicenter area, the China New News Agency announced.

The China Seismic Network Center reported several aftershocks that occurred after the initial quake.

A resident of Congqing, a provincial city whose center is more than 400 kilometers from the epicenter, said the earthquake was felt “very clearly” in that area as well.

Sichuan, a mountainous province known globally for its panda reserves, is generally hit by earthquakes of varying intensity several times a month.

In June, an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.1 occurred in this province, killing at least four people and injuring dozens of people.

In May 2008, a very strong 7.9 magnitude earthquake left 87,000 dead and missing in Sichuan. That catastrophe generated a real shock on a national scale.

Among the victims were thousands of students killed as a result of the collapse of some schools built with poor resistance systems. The Chinese police then arrested several activists who were trying to accurately count the children who died as a result of that disaster.

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