"So far 80 people have been killed and 731 others injured in the quake affected mountainous region in southwest China," state-run news agency Xinhua reported today. Rescuers in Yunnan Province said that they had reached 90 per cent of the six quake-hit counties under Zhaotong, where a total of 740,000 people had been affected by the quake followed by a series of aftershocks.
The disaster has so far incurred USD 551 million in direct economic losses, Yunnan's civil affairs department said.
Two quakes measuring 5.7 and 5.6 on the Richter scale hit a border area near Yiliang in Yunnan and Weining county in Guizhou province at 11:19 am and 12:16 pm (local time) yesterday, respectively. Electricity has been cut off and landslides have blocked roads, creating complications for rescuers.
Yunnan's civil affairs department said 6,650 houses have been destroyed and 430,000 others damaged. More than 100,000 residents were evacuated and 100,000 others are in need of relocation.
Authorities are also taking epidemic control measures after shed collapses killed more than 4,300 cattle in Yunnan. Over 153 hectares of farmlands were damaged. Reports from Guizhou region said the quake destroyed an entire mining community.
"The hardest part of the rescue will be handling traffic. Roads are blocked and rescuers have to climb mountains to reach hard-hit villages," Li Fuchun, head of Luozehe township in Yiliang, said.