4,000 aftershocks rattle China's quake-hit Xinjiang

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Beijing, Jul 4: Four thousand aftershocks have been recorded in China's northwest Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region after a 6.5 magnitude earthquake struck the area, prompting authorities to evacuate more than 66,000 people.

The official death toll from the temblor yesterday has been revised to three from six, while 71 people have been injured.

4,000 aftershocks rattle China's quake-hit Xinjiang.
The shallow quake, one of the worst to hit the region, struck Pishan County of Hotan Prefecture yesterday, with its epicentre recorded at a depth of 10 km, said China Earthquake Networks Centre (CENC). State-run CCTV reported that the areas have suffered 4,000 aftershocks, some having a magnitude of more than four.

The earthquake damaged 12,000 houses, local officials said. In excess of 66,000 people have been evacuated, state-run Xinhua news agency reported. Many of those displaced have been relocated to No 1 Middle School in Pishan.

Rescuers and soldiers have set up shelters and distributed food and water to the quake-hit people. Harenisa Abdurahman, an evacuee, said when the quake struck her husband was sleeping inside their house.

"He was buried by debris but I could not pull him out by myself. Thanks to the village officials, if they had not arrived I dread to think what might have happened," she said. A shop owner, Abudurehim, and his wife laid out a blanket on the roadside and provided the quake-affected people with free bottled water and instant noodles.

The epicentre was between the Pishan County seat and the Pixna Township. In Pixna Township, five temporary settlements have been erected for those who lost their homes in the quake. The Xinjiang government has earmarked a USD 3.2 million disaster relief fund.

Those affected by the quake have received 1,500 tents, 2,000 quilts and 2,000 coats. Twenty tents have been erected at the People's Hospital of Pishan County to accommodate the injured.

"Most had soft tissue injuries," said Wen Bin, president of the hospital."We are also helping people cope with the hot weather with cooling products and started epidemic prevention work."

Though about 12,000 houses were damaged in the quake, the newly-built quake-resistant houses under a 2004 project are safe, the report said.

A civil society group, "Dongaimengxiang", sent two batches of relief goods and medicine to Pishan and provided free water, pancakes and watermelons.

PTI

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