Death toll rises to 20 after strong natural disaster in China

Death toll rises to 20 after strong natural disaster in China

Death toll rises to 20 after strong natural disaster in China

Over two million tourists come from within China and the world over annually to see the richly hued turquoise-colored lakes and perforated karst landscapes.

In July, 63 people were killed by landslides and floods in the central province of Hunan. That quake was measured at 6.3 by the USGS and struck in a sparsely populated area of the Xinjiang region near the Kazakhstan border.

A 7.0-magnitude natural disaster jolted Jiuzhaigou County in southwest China's Sichuan Province at 9:19 p.m. Tuesday (Beijing Time), according to the China quake Networks Center (CENC), Xinhua reports.

The tourists were moved to safer areas which included the cities of Mianyang and Chengdu. Since the area is on the edge of the Tibetan plateau, it is home to many Tibetan and other ethnic-minority villages. The area is close to the Jiuzhaigou nature reserve, a popular tourist destination in the country listed as a world heritage site by Unesco, a United Nations educational and cultural unit.

According to the Sichuan government, tourists were evacuated and residents had been cut off by landslides. The official China News Service said on Wednesday that six tourists were among the dead.

The provincial meteorological bureau said Wednesday that rain is in the forecast, which could trigger flooding and landslides.

Shanghai Daily reports that taxi drivers from bordering Songpa county are providing free food and drinks at the airport and offering free rides to workers and passengers who are stranded. Emergency officials evacuated numerous estimated 38,000 tourists in the area. Back in 2008, a powerful quake killed almost 70,000 people.

The quake came on the same day that state media reported heavy rains had killed at least 23 people in the province.

A separate quake with a magnitude of 6.6 struck a remote part of China's far northwestern region of Xinjiang, more than 2,000 km (1,240 miles) away, the Chinese natural disaster administration said. So far the Jiuzhaigou county has dispatched more than 90 emergency vehicles and 1,200 personnel for the rescue work.

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