Chinese leaders have urged all-out rescue efforts after a 6.3-magnitude quake hit the Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in southwest China's Sichuan Province.
The provincial and civil affairs authorities must be swift in organizing rescue and relief work and do their best to minimize casualties, said President Xi Jinping, who was visiting Fiji.
Two people had been confirmed dead and another 54 injured as of 6:30 a.m. Sunday after the earthquake hit Kangding County of Garze at 4:55 p.m. Saturday.
About 55,000 people have been affected by the quake, according to the provincial civil affair department.
Xi asked local authorities to strengthen post-quake monitoring and prevent secondary disasters, and well settle the people affected. He also ordered the military and armed police to support and help with the quake relief.
A 35-member rescue team of armed police arrived at Tagong township, the epicenter, two hours after the quake occurred. Six military aircraft, 60 medical staff and nearly 1,000 soldiers and militia are ready for mission call.
Premier Li Keqiang also ordered immediate verification of the damage and all-out rescue and relief efforts. He asked state disaster relief authorities to send work teams as appropriate to guide local quake relief.
The China Earthquake Administration and Sichuan Provincial Earthquake Administration launched Grade II emergency response and sent work teams to Kangding.
Power facilities, tents and quilts have been sent to the quake-hit areas.
Sichuan, neighboring the Tibet Autonomous Region, is mountainous and quake-prone. A massive 8.0-magnitude earthquake struck Wenchuan of the province on May 12, 2008 and left more than 80,000 people dead or missing. On April 20, 2013, a 7.0-magnitude quake hit Lushan, killing at least 196.
Death toll of southwest China quake rises to 4
CHENGDU, Nov. 23 (Xinhua) -- The death toll of a 6.3-magnitude earthquake which hit Kangding County in southwest China's Sichuan Province had risen to four as of 11:30 a.m. Sunday.
The quake struck at 4:55 p.m. Saturday, with its epicenter in Tagong Town, Kangding, Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Garze, about 37 km from the county seat, according to the China Earthquake Networks Center.