The Associated Press BEIJING (AP) — A strong earthquake shook a mountainous region in southwestern China near a famous national park, killing 13 people, injuring 175 others and knocking out power and phone networks.
At least five of the dead were tourists, China’s official Xinhua News Agency said. At least 28 people had serious injuries, according to the Aba prefecture government in Sichuan Province.
Chinese President Xi Jinping called for rapid efforts to respond to the quake and rescue the injured. Authorities sent medical teams, rescuers and other resources.
The quake around 9:20 p.m. Tuesday struck a region bordered by the provinces of Sichuan and Gansu. The area is on the edge of the Tibetan Plateau, and home to many Tibetan and other ethnic minority villages. It’s also near Jiuzhaigou, or Jiuzhai Valley, a national park known for spectacular waterfalls and karst formations.
The U.S. Geological Survey said it was magnitude-6.5 and just 9 kilometers deep, while the China Earthquake Networks Center measured the earthquake at magnitude-7.0 and said it struck at a depth of 20 kilometers. Shallow earthquakes tend to cause more damage than deeper ones.
A man surnamed Song who answered the phone at a local emergency office in Aba prefecture, where the Jiuzhaigou national park is located, said the nearby town of Zhangzha reported the deaths and injuries. Song did not say where the five tourists who died were from.
The epicenter was about 39 kilometers from the county of Jiuzhaigou, which has a population of about 80,000, and was 285 kilometers from Chengdu, the densely populated capital of Sichuan Province, according to the Chinese quake center.
Xinhua said strong tremors could be felt in Chengdu. The Sichuan provincial government’s news website said that after the quake struck, a number of train services to Chengdu and other cities were suspended.