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Death Toll in Yunnan Quake Rises to 22
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Twenty-two people are confirmed dead in an earthquake that jolted southwest China's Yunnan Province on Saturday, the local government said Sunday.


The earthquake measuring 5.1 on the Richter Scale also injured 106 people in the city of Zhaotong, eight of whom seriously, said Tian Rongping, a spokesman with the city government.


The local health authorities have sent at least 300 medical workers to the quake-hit areas to provide first-aid to the injured, said Chen Hua, head of the city's health bureau.


He said timely treatment has brought all the eight seriously injured people out of danger.


Eight-year-old Tang Jianhong was playing outside when she was hit by a falling rock and was badly injured on the waist, legs and belly. She was immediately sent to the nearest hospital in Huanggecao New District of Yanjin County.


Tang's doctor said she has responded to emergency treatment and is now in stable condition.


To prevent epidemics in the disaster-hit areas, local health authorities have sent disease control specialists to sterilize every corner of the local communities.




The quake was reported at 9:10 a.m. Saturday with the epicenter located in Yanjin County of Zhaotong, in the northern part of Yunnan Province.


Yanjin County is located on the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau and has a population of 350,000.


The death toll stood at 20 Saturday night and two more fatalities were confirmed early on Sunday, said Tian. "One was a driver whose car was hit by a rock in the mud-rock flow following the quake and the other a newly confirmed victim from Zhonghe village."


Thanks to emergency repairs work overnight, power supply has been resumed in most of the quake-hit villages, paving the way for further rescue operation, Tian said.


By 3:00 a.m., railway workers have finished repairing most damaged sections of an artery railway that links Yunnan Province with other southwestern provinces of Guizhou and Sichuan as well as Chongqing Municipality.


"All the three trains that were stranded in the province yesterday left early on Sunday, and we expect to complete all the repair work within today," said Liu Zhenfang, vice director of the Kunming Railway Bureau.


Earlier resumption of the train service will facilitate the inflow of relief materials, he said.


Saturday's earthquake toppled more than 1,400 houses and damaged 38,000 others in 13 townships of the county as most houses in Yanjin are built on hillside and therefore vulnerable to earthquakes.


In Dousha Township, the worst-hit area, a large number of wooden-structured houses have been ruined. A huge crevice was seen on the wall of a school building.


"I've never imagined such a terrible scene -- so many houses just disappeared all at once," said Jiang Guanzhi, an 81-year-old woman.


Rescuers helped local residents evacuate to safer places. Many people gathered together near a primary school Saturday night, with ample supply of instant noodles and mineral water.


Local governments launched emergency rescue operations immediately after the earthquake, sending money, tents, quilts and blankets to the quake-ravaged areas.


(Xinhua News Agency July 23, 2006)

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