Two major earthquakes rattled China in Yunnan and Guizhou provinces an hour apart on Friday. A relief center was set up in the town square in Yiliang on Saturday. Rescue authorities and rehabilitation teams reached the affected areas to provide first aid to those who had been injured or displaced.
The first earthquake with a magnitude of 5.6 on the Richter scale struck just before 11:30 a.m. Friday. It was followed by an equally strong quake shortly after noon. Several aftershocks were also felt after the earthquakes.
The death toll has risen to 80 people, according to Zhang Junwei, a spokesman for the Yunnan Seismological Bureau. Another 820 people may have been injured. The local television showed buildings being reduced to debris and dust clouds emerging from the hilltops. Other footages showed blue rescue tents in relief areas, displaced people and search dogs looking for more survivors in the debris. Chinese Premiervisited the quake areas on Saturday and was seen on television consoling survivors and walking through hospitals.
Local residents are resting at the emergency relief center set up in the town square in Yiliang due to the massive damage the earthquake caused. The relief efforts are being carried out pretty fast. Over 100,000 residents were evacuated after Friday's quakes destroyed thousands of homes, buildings, and roads. Some of the poorest people have lost homes and have been displaced due to these devastating earthquakes.
Due to immense damage and rough terrain, it was very difficult for the rescuers and relief workers to access the small town. According to USA Today, China’s state television said on Saturday that a road into the worst-hit area that had been blocked with fallen boulders was cleared, allowing workers and assistance in.
Weather forecasts have predicted chances of rain over the next three days - which will make it even more difficult to carry out the rescue operations. Xinhua News Agency quoted weather officials as warning of the risk of "rain-triggered geological disasters" such as landslides in the quake-hit region.
According to USA Today, the civil affairs department has announced that more than 10,000 tents, plus a similar number of heavy blankets and winter jackets, had been dispatched to the affected areas; however, more rescue and relief aids would be required to manage further damage that is expected due to the predicted rain in the coming few days.