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Earthquake damage was widespread

By HUANG ZHILING | China Daily | Updated: 2017-08-14 08:10

In Pingwu county, financial losses were in excess of 110 million yuan

The magnitude 7.0 earthquake in Jiuzhaigou county, Sichuan province, on Tuesday also left victims and damage in neighboring areas, authorities said on Sunday.

Twenty-five people died as a result of the earthquake Tuesday night in Jiuzhaigou, a county in the Aba Tibetan and Qiang autonomous prefecture, and 525 people were injured. The identity of 21 of the dead has been confirmed, provincial government officials said on Sunday.

The earthquake damaged roads, houses, crops, forests, telecommunication and power facilities and factories in 11 townships in Pingwu, a neighboring county in Mianyang, Sichuan, and the economic losses in Pingwu surpassed 110 million yuan ($17 million), according to the Sichuan provincial government information office.

The earthquake put 259 cellphone towers in Pingwu, Songpan, Zoige and Hongyuan counties out of service. A total of 1,079 workers were involved in their emergency repair. As of Sunday morning, 238 towers had resumed operation, the office said.

The earthquake jolted Jiuzhaigou at 9:19 pm on Tuesday at a depth of 20 kilometers. More than 3,000 aftershocks, with the strongest being magnitude 4.8, had taken place by Sunday.

Soon after the earthquake, top decision-makers had responded. On Tuesday night, President Xi Jinping called for all-out efforts to organize relief work and rescue the injured. He said that authorities should assess the impact of the earthquake, evacuate and settle visitors and local people, and reduce the deaths and injuries as much as possible.

About 60,000 tourists and migrant workers had been evacuated from the quake's epicenter by 5 pm the next day.

The evacuation was swift and efficient through the efforts of the government and people of different ethnic groups in the region, according to the office.

Li Yinzheng, a Tibetan general manager of the Sacred Lotus Hotel in Jiuzhaigou, had worked as a volunteer in the magnitude 8.0 Wenchuan earthquake in 2008 and the magnitude 7.0 Lushan earthquake in 2013.

The earthquake in Wenchuan county, Sichuan, killed 69,226 people and left 17,923 missing. The earthquake in Sichuan's Lushan county killed 176 people and injured 12,614.

Guided by the experience he gained in those earthquakes, Li gathered all the tourists staying in the hotel within minutes, calming them and pledging to take care of them until they left Jiuzhaigou.

He organized hotel staff members to put up tents and provided free food and quilts for tourists staying in the hotel and people who could not find accommodations until they left Jiuzhaigou two days later.

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