Rescue and recovery operations are in full swing in southwestern China one day after a major earthquake.
The epicenter of Jiuzhaigou is home to one of China’s world-famous UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The area has already experienced around 800 aftershocks, and experts warn that more quakes could still strike.
CGTN’s Zheng Yibing reports.
At least 19 people were killed and 247 others were injured afterthe earthquake jolted Jiuzhaigou County, according to Jiuzhaigou’s Office of Emergency Services.
A total of 31,500 tourists have been evacuated and local authorities have set up emergency shelters at Zhangzha Town, Sheraton Jiuzhaigou Resort and Moon Valley (Yueliangwan).
The Sichuan Wolong National Nature Reserve, China’s largest panda reserve located near the disaster area, said that no pandas were hurt in Tuesday’s earthquake.
Over 770 aftershocks were detected in the area, including a 4.8-magnitude earthquake striking the county at 10:17 a.m. Beijing time on Wednesday.
The risk of landslides have risen after the powerful earthquake if strong rainfall hits the area, emergency office of China’s Land and Resources Ministry warned.
Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday has called for “all-out efforts” to rapidly organize relief work and rescue the injured people after a 7.0-magnitude earthquake hit southwestern China’s Sichuan Province.
As the earthquake took place during the flood period and tourism season, authorities should enhance meteorological early warning and geological monitoring to guard against other disasters and try their best to protect people’s lives and property, Xi added.
Premier Li Keqiang also urged local authorities to go all out in relief and monitoring work.
Jiuzhaigou, or Jiuzhai Valley, is a national park located in the north of southwestern China’s Sichuan Province. Inscribed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1992, the valley is home to diversified natural scenery combining lakes, waterfalls, verdant forests and snow-covered mountains.
In order to protect the ecosystem at the park, local authorities set a restriction to control the number of visitors when it reaches the maximum capacity of 41,000 (Apr.1 to Nov.15) and 23,000 (Nov. 16 to Mar.31) . More than 34,000 people visited the park on Tuesday.