Death toll climbs to 17 in Tibet following Nepal earthquake
Death toll in southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region has climbed to 17, after a powerful earthquake struck neighboring Nepal on Saturday, local authorities said Sunday.
A total of 53 people were injured, while about 12,000 have been evacuated, according to rescuers.
A massive 8.1-magnitude quake shook Nepal at 2:11 p.m. (Beijing Time), killing at least 1,805 people in the country. The quake also strongly affected some counties in Tibet.
Some 7,000 people have been relocated in the county of Nyalam, while about 5,000 have been evacuated in the county of Gyirong. The two border ports near Nepal were among the most affected counties in Tibet.
In Gyirong, some 800 km west to Lhasa, six people were killed and 17 were injured in the quake, according to the local rescue headquarters.
As of 7 a.m. Sunday, four people, including a Nepalese national, remain missing in Nyalam.
The quake toppled 1,191 houses, damaged roads and cut off telecommunications in the two counties, both in Xigaze, as well as in several neighboring regions.
In Xigaze, 54 temples sustained damages during the tremor, although no casualties have been reported so far.
Epidemic prevention and control work has been under way in the quake-hit counties of Nyalam and Gyirong, local health authorities said on Sunday.
Protection of drinking water sources is the priority, said Sogdoi, head of the Xigaze City health bureau, adding drug supply is sufficient and the injured are receiving effective treatment.
Two health working groups have reached Gyirong county and begun disinfection operation. Another working group is expected to reach Nyalam by noon time.
Following strong earthquakes in Nepal, a 5.9-magnitude quake shook Dingri County of Xigaze at 5:17 p.m. Saturday.
A 5.3-magnitude quake shook Nyalam County at 1:42 a.m. Sunday, with the epicenter monitored at 28.2 degrees north latitude and 85.9 degrees east longitude, and the focus 10 kilometers deep, said the China Earthquake Networks Center.
Rescuers are braving heavy snow and rain to reach the quake-hit area, but their efforts are hampered by severe landslides clogging the road to Nyalam County.
"Aftershocks are what we worry most at the moment, for there is nowhere to hide," said Gyanga Tseten, detachment head of Xigaze fire brigade, who is leading a 30-people task force to Zham, a China-Nepal pass about 37 km away from Nyalam.
Chen Quanguo, Communist Party of China chief of Tibet, has ordered evacuation of people in the quake-hit regions to avoid further deaths and injuries from aftershocks and secondary disasters.
About 600 border guards are currently involved in the rescue operation in Nyalam and Gyirong. Tents, quilts, clothes, medicine and bottled water were being sent to the regions.
Editor: Yang Chunxue