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Chinese Premier Urges Rescue Efforts After Strong Quake

posted 20 Apr 2013, 06:23 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 20 Apr 2013, 06:24 ]

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang urges all-out efforts to rescue survivors and treat the injured after a powerful earthquake killed at least 102 people and injured about 2,200 in China's Sichuan province, state media reports.

 BEIJINGCHINA (APRIL 20, 2013)  (CCTV) - Chinese Premier Li Keqiang flew to the quake zone after a strong 6.6 magnitude earthquake hit a remote, mostly rural and mountainous area of south-western China's Sichuan province on Saturday (April 20), killing at least 102 people and injuring about 2,200, state television CCTV said.

On a flight to the provincial capital Chengdu, Li said that all efforts must be put into rescuing victims to limit the death toll.

The earthquake occurred at 8.02 a.m. (0002 GMT) in Lushan county near Ya'an city and the epicentre had a depth of 12 km (7.5 miles), the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The quake was felt by residents in Chengdu and neighbouring provinces, causing many people to rush out of buildings, according to accounts on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo microblogging service.

Li arrived in Chengdu and was on his way to the disaster zone by helicopter, state media said.

Xinhua news agency said 6,000 troops were heading to the area to help with rescue efforts.

CCTV said only emergency vehicles were being allowed into Ya'an, thoughChengdu airport had reopened.

Most of the deaths were concentrated in Lushan, where water and electricity were cut off.

Pictures on Chinese news sites showed toppled buildings and people in bloodied bandages being treated in tents outside the hospital, which appeared only lightly damaged.

Rescuers in Lushan had pulled 32 survivors out of rubble, Xinhua said.