China Earthquake: More Deaths Feared in Sichuan
By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | April 22, 2013 12:34 PM EST
Rescue workers feared more dead bodies lie under the rocks that toppled over from the concrete structures that got destroyed during Saturday's magnitude 6.6 earthquake in Sichuan province. At least 207 have been confirmed dead as of Sunday, while the number of injured have reached more than 11,800.
Rescue and relief teams are racing against time to fly in supplies to Lushan county, located about 1,650 kilometers (1,000 miles) southwest of Beijing.
While other rescue workers hiked to reach the victims, some had to blast mounds of rock to gain access to the affected. It was shortly after 8am on Saturday when the quake struck. It was believed most of the people were still cocooned in their homes, sleeping or having breakfast.
The April 20, 2013 earthquake was the fifth-largest quake that Sichuan experienced since 1923, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. It struck on the same fault line that devastated nearby Wenchuan during a 7.9 earthquake in May 2008, which left 87,000 people dead or missing.
The government had deployed 18,000 soldiers and officers from the military, police forces as well as paramilitary reserve forces. The Ministry of Public Security likewise sent more than 2300 firefighters to help with rescue work. Almost 1000 medical workers and 202 medical vehicles have been dispatched to attend to the needs in the region.
"The Lushan county centre is getting back to normal, but the need is still considerable in terms of shelter and materials," Kevin Xia of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, said.
"Supplies have had difficulty getting into the region because of the traffic jams. Most of our supplies are still on the way."
A total of $162 million has been earmarked by the country's Ministry of Finance for rescue and relief work, medical treatment, subsidies for victims' families, relocation of people affected by the earthquake as well as repairing public facilities. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said China doesn't need international help for now.
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