China rushes relief after Sichuan quake kills 179
YA’AN, China – Rescuers and relief teams struggled to rush supplies into the rural hills of China’s Sichuan province Sunday after an earthquake left at least 179 people dead and more than 6,700 injured and caused frightened survivors spent a night in cars, tents and makeshift shelters.
The earthquake Saturday morning triggered landslides that cut off roads and disrupted phone and power connections in mountainous Lushan county, further south on the same fault line where a devastating quake wreaked widespread damage across the region five years ago.
Hardest hit Saturday were villages further up the valleys, where farmers grow rice, vegetables and corn on terraced plots. Rescuers hiked into neighboring Baoxing county after its roads were cut off, reaching it overnight, state media reported. In Longmen village, authorities said nearly all the buildings had been destroyed in a frightening minute-long shaking by the quake.
In the fog-covered town of Shuangli, corn farmer Zheng Xianlan said Sunday that the quake damaged her house, in a setback for a family that does not have much money. She rushed from the fields back to her home when the quake struck, and cried when she saw that the roof collapsed. She then spent the night outdoors on a worn sofa using a plastic raincoat for a cover to watch over it.
“We don’t earn much money. We don’t know what we will do now,” said 58-year-old Zheng, her eyes welling with tears. “The government only brought one tent for the whole village so far, but that’s not enough for us.”
Along the main roads, ambulances, fire engines and military trucks piled high with supplies waited in long lines, some turning back to try other routes when roads were impassable.
Rescuers were forced to dynamite boulders that had fallen across roads, and rains Saturday night slowed rescue work, state media reported.