Lushan, China (CNN) — A strong earthquake that struck the southwestern Chinese province of Sichuan this weekend has killed 186 people, sent nearly 8,200 to hospitals and created a dire dearth of drinking water, Chinese state-run Xinhua reported Sunday. Earlier reports had said as many as 11,200 people were injured.
The Sichuan Red Cross estimated that drinking water in Ya’an City will run out within three days despite rescue workers’ efforts to deliver supplies to quake-hit area. In more remote areas, where the shifting earth muddied river waters, people anxiously awaited evacuation, Xinhua said.
Thousands of emergency workers, including soldiers, rushed to reach the affected zones in the hilly region, but their progress was impeded.
Huge mountain chunks near the quake’s epicenter in Lushan County have sheared off and fallen into valleys. Boulders have landed on roads, making emergency work difficult. Buildings were flattened in the county, and others had severe structural damage.
Xu Mengjia, the Communist Party chief of Ya’an, the city that administers the area where the quake struck, told state broadcaster CCTV that because of landslides and disruption to communications, determining the total number of casualties will take some time.
Li spent Saturday in Lushan County, leading the response near the quake’s epicenter, then visited hospital patients Sunday, Xinhua reported.
- Rescuers struggle to reach China quake zone-UPDATED (worldbulletin.net)