09/08/2012, 00.00
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Yunnan and Guizhou earthquake victims top 80

Premier Wen Jiabao visits area to comfort families of victims. Official sources speak of 730 injured, 6,650 houses destroyed and about 430 thousand damaged. 650 tents and 3 thousand blankets sent. People throng the streets in fear of further collapses. Some mountainous areas still isolated.

Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Prime Minister Wen Jiabao visited the area in the southwest of China, rocked yesterday by a series of earthquakes (see AsiaNews 07/09/2012 Series of earthquakes in south-west: seven dead, dozens injured and 20 thousand homes destroyed), which has claimed at least 80 victims. He met with the families of the victims and gave a speech at a reception center for evacuees, while rescuers are still trying to access the most remote and isolated areas affected by violent shocks, which are concentrated in the border between the provinces Yunnan and Guizhou. The China Earthquake Networks Center (Cenc) pointed out that the main telluric movement developed at a depth of 14 km underground and showed an intensity of 5.7 magnitude.

Xinhua reports that officials in Yunnan say 6,650 homes are destroyed and 430 thousand are damaged, some irreversibly. So far 100 thousand people have been evacuated and the International Red Cross has sent 650 tents and at least 3 thousand blankets to the area. The injured are believed to be at least 730, but the figures are still provisional.

The area most affected is Yiliang County, Yunnan Province, where the victims of the earthquake were registered (except one). Communication and power lines are down.

CCTV state television released images depicting hundreds of people piling up in the streets, crammed with bricks and cement, for fear of possible new building collapses. Among the major sources of concern the fate of children who have lost their parents, who died as a result of the earthquake or who became lost in the general confusion caused by the earthquake.

In fact, the vulnerability of buildings is one of the main reasons for the high number of victims, whenever there are earthquakes in China. In fact, although the country has a high seismic risk in many areas, the houses - particularly in poor, rural areas - are crumbling and built with low quality materials. In 2008, a 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck Sichuan province in the north of Yunnan, causing almost 90 thousand dead, many of them from the collapse of buildings, including public schools, due to poor workmanship and materials as well as insufficient criteria .


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