A total of 66 people have been killed in a 6.8-magnitude earthquake that jolted Luding County in southwest China's Sichuan Province on Monday, local authorities said Tuesday.
As of 2 p.m. Tuesday, 38 people had been killed in Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, and the other 28 died in the city of Ya'an, the rescue headquarters told a press briefing.
Four counties and one county-level city in Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture and two counties in Ya'an reported quake damage. Luding County in Ganzi and Shimian County in Ya'an were the hardest-hit areas, with all the 66 deaths, as well as over 50,000 people evacuated to safe places.
Fifteen people were missing and 253 were injured, with five in critical condition and 70 in serious condition.
Of the injured, 175 have been sent to hospitals for further treatment and six medical teams are working at the scene of the disaster.
The earthquake struck Luding County at 12:52 p.m. Monday, according to the China Earthquake Networks Center.
The quake damaged houses, roads, water conservancy facilities, hydropower stations, telecommunications, and tourism and ecological infrastructure.
In Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, 243 rooms of residential houses collapsed and 13,010 rooms were damaged. The quake also damaged electricity transmission lines and caused power outages in eight townships.
A number of villages in the counties of Luding and Shimian were left isolated as roads leading to them were damaged. Boats are used to evacuate villagers, while transport authorities have sent 19 teams to quickly repair roads to facilitate rescue efforts.
Sichuan has activated the highest level of emergency response for the earthquake. As of Tuesday morning, over 6,600 firefighters, doctors and other rescue workers were engaged in the rescue and search operations.
The provincial emergency management department and the Sichuan branch of the Red Cross Society of China have sent over 89,000 items of disaster relief materials to the quake-hit areas.