South West China: Earthquake Wiped out Hundreds of People and Counting

South West China

In South West China a large earthquake wiped out hundreds of people on Sunday while authorities are still counting. The death totals have already climbed up to nearly 396 as officials continue to search the area for more victims. So far at least 2,000 have been injured in the catastrophic earthquake.

The earthquake began around 4 p.m., local time, in Ludian county just miles from Zhaotong, South West China, and has a population of 429,000, while Zhaotong has over 5.2 million. However the exact location of the underground shakedown was in the town of Longtoushan, where there are many older housing constructions. Sources reported that 12,000 houses and buildings were demolished as a result of the strong forces of the earthquake.

Although China is not new to earthquakes, sources said the quake had a Richter scale of 6.1, and it was the first to hit this hard in South West China since 2000. The majority of the vicinity surrounding the area is densely populated and Longtoushan is a large township. It is located about 277 miles from Kunming, the capital city in South West China. That is quite a distance from where the emergency resources were needed in this situation. However Chinese officials said preparations were being made to assist the families who lost their homes and thousands of emergency rescuers have already accessed the area.

The earthquake in South West China has wiped out hundreds of people and authorities are still counting. Many international observers fear even more individuals are either already dead or barely surviving underneath sheets of rubble and ruin. Another issue of concern brought up by international observers is the hundreds of small children left behind as the sole survivors to the devastation after the losses of their families in the earthquake. Several special search teams are being coordinated by Chinese authorities sources said.

Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang will travel to the area to personally make sure “rescue and relief efforts” are being satisfied. Keqiang said the Chinese government quickly gathered disaster response teams to provide a wide assortment of relief efforts. Within 24 hours of the earthquake in South West China, communications centers, heavy equipment, temporary shelters and evacuee centers were all set up in order to give support to the relief efforts for thousands of victims who lost their homes during the earthquake.

The quake disrupted a distance of at least six miles of land in South West China and the damage has alreadybeen  estimated at $6 billion United States dollars, which is probably enough money to pay off the debts of two Latin American countries. Yet the devastation of the massive earthquake was massive and could be compared to the damage caused in the Gaza Strip. Other sources said small towns outside of Zhaotong are also reporting damages from the earthquake’s tremors as well.

The earthquake in South West China, which has wiped out hundreds of people and injured thousands, has left the Zhaotong area in shambles so authorities are still counting the exact number of how many are dead. Economists predict it will take several years for the town to return to its normal state, while critics suggest that rebuilding the once densely populated area would be too costly. However Chinese officials are saying for now they are mainly concerned with the thousands of injured and displaced people. The Red Cross and other international relief groups are currently on the scene assisting the Chinese government.

By Kimakra Nealy

Earthquake Report
Wall Street Journal