China earthquake: Almost 400 killed in Kunming - Images - News - The Independent

China earthquake: Almost 400 killed in Kunming

At least 398 have been killed in the disaster with 1,800 injured in Yunnan province

Kunming

Rescuers dug through shattered homes Monday looking for survivors of a strong earthquake in southern China's Yunnan province as the death toll rose to at least 398 people, with more than 1,800 injured.

About 12,000 homes collapsed when the quake struck Sunday afternoon in impoverished Ludian county, around 370 kilometers (230 miles) northeast of Yunnan's capital, Kunming, China's official Xinhua News Agency reported.

Ma Yaoqi, an 18-year-old volunteer in the quake zone, said by phone that at least half of the buildings had collapsed on the road from the city center of Zhaotong to the hardest hit town of Longtou. The rest of the buildings were damaged, she said.

“I saw dead bodies being wrapped in quilts and carried away,” said Ma, who had arrived with 20 other volunteers Monday. “Some were wrapped with small quilts. Those must be kids.”

Overhead footage of the quake zone shot by state broadcaster CCTV showed older houses flattened but newer multistory buildings still standing.

The magnitude-6.1 quake struck at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday at a depth of 10 kilometers (6 miles), according to the U.S. Geological Survey. China's earthquake monitoring agency put the magnitude at 6.5.

Rain and thunderstorms were forecast for the area Monday afternoon, complicating efforts to bring tents, water, food and other relief supplies to survivors. Roads had caved in, and rescuers were forced to travel on foot.

Repeated aftershocks also were making the rescue work dangerous. The USGS showed four aftershocks of magnitude 4.5 and higher hitting after the initial quake.

The Yunnan Civil Affairs Bureau said on its website that 398 people were killed and 1,801 injured. Another 29,400 people were evacuated, CCTV said. The death toll is expected to rise after rescuers reach remote communities to assess casualties.

Many of the homes that collapsed in Ludian, which has a population of about 429,000, were old and made of brick, Xinhua said, adding that electricity and telecommunications were cut off in the county.

The mountainous region where the quake occurred is largely agricultural, with farming and mining the top industries, and is prone to earthquakes.

Video: Two people rescued from rubble

Relief efforts are underway, with more than 2,500 troops dispatched to the disaster region, Xinhua said. The Red Cross Society of China allocated quilts, jackets and tents for those made homeless by the quake, while Red Cross branches in Hong Kong, Macau and neighboring Sichuan province also sent relief supplies.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang reached the worst-hit area Monday afternoon to oversee quake relief, Xinhua said.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon offered “his condolences to the Chinese Government and the families of those killed,” according to a statement from his office. The statement said the U.N. was ready to “lend its assistance to efforts to respond to humanitarian needs” and “to mobilize any international support needed.”

The White House also offered its condolences.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those that lost their lives,” said National Security Council deputy spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan. “The United States stands ready to assist.”

CCTV said the quake was the strongest to hit Yunnan in 14 years.

In 1970, a magnitude-7.7 earthquake in Yunnan killed at least 15,000 people, and a magnitude-7.1 quake in the province killed more than 1,400 in 1974. In September 2012, 81 people died and 821 were injured in a series of quakes in the Yunnan region.

In May 2008, a powerful quake in Sichuan province left nearly 90,000 people dead or missing.

AP

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Bookkeeper / Accounts Administrator - Central London, £30-40k

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Bookkeeper - Central London, £30-40k...

Permanent KS2 Teacher required

Negotiable: Randstad Education Ilford: A Redbridge based Primary School is see...

NVQ Assessor Level 2 & 3 Sport Development

£19200 - £26880 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: In NVQ Ass...

Secondary supply teachers required in Newmarket

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Secondary supply teac...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week