The death toll from the powerful earthquake that hit southwest China earlier this week rose further to 82 on Thursday, as rain and the risk of mudslides complicated the work of the relief.
A 6.6-magnitude earthquake struck rural Luding Township in mountainous Sichuan Province on Monday, according to the United States Institute of Geological Survey. States (USGS).
According to the latest report announced Thursday by state television CCTV, 46 people died in the Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Garze, where the epicenter is located, and 36 in the neighboring township of Shimian.
More than 270 residents were also injured and 35 are missing, according to the same source.
The weather services are forecasting moderate rain in the area on Thursday and Friday, with some localized showers.
< p>“This rainfall is likely to lead to landslides and mudslides,” they warned.
More than 10,000 rescuers – military, paramilitary and firefighters – are taking part in the relief operations as well only to prevent possible mudslides.
To evacuate the victims, the rescuers sometimes had to hoist them with ropes and stretchers to cross the rivers of this mountainous area.
In the torrents, “the stones under the water that cannot be to see is the biggest threat,” a rescue team member named Tan Ke told CCTV.
“We had water up to our knees and thighs,” said he added.
More than 22,000 people have so far been evacuated and sheltered in 124 temporary accommodations, according to the People's Daily.
Furthermore , some 1,800 schools in the area reopened as normal on Wednesday.
As of Monday, more than 21,000 students and staff in Shimian Township had to be evacuated, according to the newspaper. reference point of the Chinese Communist Party in power.
Hundreds of kilometers of electrical and optical cables were damaged by the earthquake. Communications in the affected areas, however, were “virtually restored” by Thursday, according to China's “Youth Daily”.