Beijing: At least 21 people were killed Monday in China when a powerful earthquake of 6.8-magnitude jolted Luding County in the country’s southwest Sichuan province. The population of Sichuan province is already reeling under a rising number of Covid-19 cases and an unprecedented drought.
The epicentre of the quake, which occurred at 12:25 pm local time, was monitored at 29.59 degrees north latitude and 102.08 degrees east longitude at a depth of 16 km, ‘China Earthquake Networks Centre’ was quoted as saying by the state-run Xinhua news agency. The epicentre is 39 km away from the county seat of Luding and there are several villages within the five-km range around the epicentre.
Twenty-one people were found to have been killed in the quake so far, the state-run ‘China Daily’ reported. It said that toll may rise as the debris are yet to be cleaned.
The tremor was felt in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan, which is 226 km away from the epicentre. Photos and videos posted on Chinese social media showed buildings shaking in Chengdu. Details of the damage are awaited.
Sichuan province is located adjacent to Tibet. The Tibetan plateau is known to be prone to heavy earthquakes as it sits right over the place where the tectonic Eurasian and Indian plates meet, often colliding with huge force.
More than 69,000 people were killed when an 8.2 magnitude quake struck the province in 2008 and a magnitude 7 quake claimed 200 lives in 2013.
Monday’s quake struck as the province is grappling with the rising number of Covid-19 cases.
Chengdu has been under a snap lockdown due to a growing number of cases. Residents were told to stay home, with one person per household allowed out each day to buy necessities. Daily nucleic acid tests were also mandated until Wednesday, the Hong Kong-based ‘South China Morning Post’ reported.
More than 1,000 cases have been reported since mid-August in Chengdu alone, a southwestern transport hub of 21 million people. Sichuan reported 105 new symptomatic cases Monday, and another 80 asymptomatic infections.