Death toll from China quakes rises to 12 | News

Death toll from China quakes rises to 12 | News

The death toll from two strong earthquakes in China rose to at least 12 on Tuesday with more than 130 people injured as rescuers pulled some survivors from collapsed buildings.

The quakes, roughly 30 minutes apart, hit the southwestern province of Sichuan late on Monday with shaking felt in key regional cities such as the provincial capital, Chengdu, and the metropolis of Chongqing.

People rushed into the streets and cracks were left in some buildings by the quakes, images posted on the social media accounts of state media showed.

Rescuers pulled some people out of the rubble alive near the epicentre in a largely rural area, state television added.

A quake of magnitude 5.9 was followed by a smaller one of 5.2 magnitude, both at a depth of 10km and centred near Changning county, the United States Geological Survey said.

There were several aftershocks, the China Earthquake Administration said.

In May 2008, Sichuan suffered a huge earthquake that killed almost 70,000 people.

Dozens treated

An early warning alarm system was triggered in the provincial capital Chengdu about one minute before the earthquake struck on Monday, state news agency Xinhua said. The alert rang 10 seconds before it hit Yibin.

A three-second headstart before an earthquake strikes can prevent 14 percent of casualties, it said.

Nine people died in Changning county and three others in Qixian county, the Yibin city government said on its social media account.

Rescuers pulled six bodies and seven survivors from buildings, it said.

Xinhua said more than 50 people were being treated in two hospitals.

More than 500 firefighters were dispatched to the scene. Rescue personnel were also sent with 5,000 tents, 10,000 folding cots, and other emergency supplies, Xinhua reported.

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