A 6.8-magnitude earthquake that struck Luding County in China’s southwest Sichuan region on Monday left at least 46 people dead and several others hurt. The area’s population is already suffering from an increase in Covid-19 cases and an unusual drought.

According to China Earthquake Networks Centre, the epicenter of the earthquake, which struck at 12:25 p.m. local time, was detected at 29.59 degrees north latitude and 102.08 degrees east longitude at a depth of 16 kilometers. There are various communities within a 5-km radius of the epicenter, and it is located 39 kilometers from Luding, the county seat.

Local authorities were cited in official media sources as indicating that at least 46 people were murdered and more than 50 others were injured. As rescue crews dispersed into the damaged districts, further casualties were anticipated. Twenty-nine of the fatalities came from Ya’an City, and the remaining 17 were from Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, which oversees Luding County.

The majority of Chengdu’s population of nearly 21 million people spent the majority of the day outside as earthquakes continued to pound the city. Infrastructure was also affected, including transportation, telecommunications, water, and electrical systems.

The Indian Embassy in this country tweeted, “Heartfelt condolences to lives lost in the catastrophic earthquake in Sichuan on September 5 and wishes for the early recovery of the injured.” Prayers for the injured to recover quickly as well as sincere condolences for those who lost their lives in the tragic earthquake that struck Sichuan on September 5.

To reduce casualties, Chinese President Xi Jinping has ordered all-out rescue operations, emphasizing that saving lives should always come first. Xi emphasized the importance of seismic monitoring, prevention of additional catastrophes, and effective assistance for those impacted.

Red Cross in Act

Xi ordered the People’s Liberation Army and the People’s Armed Police Force to actively support regional disaster relief efforts while urging the Ministry of Emergency Management and other departments to send teams to Sichuan to oversee the relief work. He also called for the maximum effort to ensure the safety of people’s lives and property. Premier Li Keqiang called for an urgent assessment of the situation as well as all-out attempts at rescue and medical care.

Following the earthquake, the Red Cross Society of China launched a Level-III emergency response. The first shipment of relief supplies included 300 folding beds, 2,200 comfort packages, 320 tents, and 1,200 quilts. A working group from the society has also been dispatched to assist with the relief and rescue efforts.

The earthquake’s second-highest degree of emergency response has been initiated in Sichuan Province, and more rescue personnel are heading to the epicenter. Despite being 226 kilometers from the epicenter, Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan, felt the shaking. On Chinese social media, images and videos showed Chengdu buildings trembling. We are awaiting information on the damage.

The province of Sichuan is next to Tibet. Due to its location directly over the point where the tectonic Eurasian and Indian plates collide, which frequently do so with great power, the Tibetan plateau is considered to be vulnerable to severe earthquakes. A magnitude 8.2 earthquake rocked the province in 2008, killing more than 69,000 people, and a magnitude seven earthquake in 2013 killed 200 people. The province is currently coping with an increase in COVID-19 cases since the earthquake on Monday struck.

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