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Chinese Premier sets out for Yunnan quake zone

Update: August, 04/2014 - 08:27
Rescuers carry an injuried child on a stretcher after a 6.1 magnitude earthquake hit the area in Ludian county in Zhaotong, southwest China's Yunnan province on August 3, 2014. The quake struck 11 kilometres (seven miles) west-northwest of the town of Wenping at a relatively shallow depth of 10 kilometres at 4:30 pm (0830 GMT). — AFP/VNA/VNS PHOTO
BEIJJING — The quake struck at 4.30pm on Sunday with a depth of 12 km, toppling about 12,000 houses and damaging 30,000 others

At least 373 people have been killed and 1,801 others were injured after a 6.5-magnitude earthquake struck Yunnan province in Southwest China.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang set out on Monday morning for the epicenter of the powerful earthquake.

The quake struck at 4.30pm on Sunday with a depth of 12 km. The epicenter was in Longtoushan Township, 23 km southwest of Zhaotong, in Ludian county, the China Earthquake Networks Center reported.

More than 12,000 houses have been toppled and 30,000 damaged in the quake zone.

Many of the homes that collapsed in Ludian, which has a population of about 429,000, were old and made of brick.

In Zhaotong, the quake has left 302 people dead in Ludian, 66 dead in Qiaojia County and caused another death in the city's Zhaoyang District, according to the Yunnan Provincial Department of Civil Affairs.

The quake killed 10 in Huize County of the neighbouring Qujing City.

In instructions issued late Sunday night, President Xi Jinping ordered that authorities concerned give top priority to saving people's lives, minimise casualties and guarantee a proper settlement for quake victims.

He called for all-out efforts in relief operation and strengthening aftershock monitoring to prevent secondary disasters. He also made instructions for disaster relief, urging local authorities to try every possible means to save the injured people and those buried in rubble.

He required local authorities to provide residents in quake zone with adequate food, clothes, clean drinking water, temporary shelters and timely medical treatment.

More than 12,000 houses have been toppled and 30,000 damaged in the quake zone. The quake has also cut traffic, electricity and telecommunications in Ludian County.

Aftershocks have triggered landslides and cracked many bridges, forcing rescuers to walk on foot to the quake-hit area.

The landslides blocked a river in Hongshiyan Village, forming a barrier lake that threatens 800 villagers.

Two main roads leading to Ludian that were damaged by the quake and downpours have reopened after emergency repair, according to reports. — ANN/VNS

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