06/18/2019, 09.29
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Earthquake in Sichuan: 12 dead and 125 wounded. 100,000 people affected

The 6.0 magnitude earthquake struck the Yibin area. Two wounded are in critical condition. At least 10 thousand buildings damaged. Motorway and roads blocked. An early warning system reduces damage. The memory of the 2008 earthquake with 87,000 dead.

Chengdu (AsiaNews) - Twelve dead and at least 125 injured is the provisional toll of a magnitude 6.0 earthquake that struck Changning County in the city of Yibin (Sichuan) last night at 10.55 pm. According to authorities, 53 wounded are receiving care in two Changning hospitals. Two of them are in very critical condition, six have serious injuries.

After sending firefighters and emergency teams, local authorities reported that more than 100,000 people were hit by the earthquake, with over 10,000 buildings damaged. A landslide caused by the earthquake blocked the highway between Yibin and Luzhou, as well as numerous provincial and village roads. A bridge in the area is at risk of collapse.

The national administration for strategic reserves and food sent 5 thousand tents, 10 thousand camping beds and 20 thousand blankets to the area.

This morning at 4.00am, a Red Cross team arrived in Changnin. There were about 60 aftershocks. The most powerful is the one of magnitude 5.3 this morning at 7.34.

An alarm system, based in Chengdu but reaching throughout Sichuan, allowed an alert one minute before the main shock; in Yibin the alert came 10 seconds earlier. According to Xinhua, a prior warning of 3 seconds can save 14% of the victims; one of 20 seconds saves 63%.

Sichuan is a seismic area. In 2008, the western zone was hit by one of the worst earthquakes in recent history with an epicenter in Wenchuan. It caused 87,000 deaths, 370,000 injured and 5 million homeless. Many children were among the victims, dead crushed under the roof of the collapsed schools. Later it was discovered that the schools were "made of tofu", with little cement and without safety criteria.

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