Quality of homes in Jiuzhaigou saved many lives in deadly earthquake

World Today

Quality of homes in Jiuzhaigou saved many lives in deadly earthquake

Rescuers have little hope of finding people alive in China’s Sichuan Province, after a deadly earthquake struck on Tuesday. The death toll in Jiuzhaigou has climbed to 25, and nearly 50 people are still in critical condition. Experts have said the quality of housing in the area has helped keep casualty numbers down.

CGTN’s Natalie Pang has more.

Five days after the magnitude-7.0 quake hit Jiuzhaogou County, 21 victims have been identified. Most of them were tourists from around the country. The youngest casualty was only 11 months old.

Even so, compared to the Wenchuan earthquake in 2008, the stronger homes in these natural disaster proved to be a lifesaver for many.

“The quake-resistance performance of the houses in this area is much higher, especially the newly built houses after the Wenchuan earthquake in 2008. Comparatively speaking, the percentage of the houses collapsing or damaged by the quake is much lower, which helped reduce casualties significantly,” Lei Jiancheng, Vice-Director of the Sichuan Seismological Bureau said.

The report shows how seismic intensity could have been higher than level nine. The areas with seismic intensity above six covered more than 18,000 square kilometers.

Anti-epidemic measures have been taken. So far, over 70,000 people have been evacuated in and around Jiuzhaigou. Meanwhile, rescue and relief work continues, with groups of firefighters checking damaged homes to ensure everyone is rescued.

“I saw a female tourist trying to run away from the landslide. Maybe she was exhausted or injured, but she stopped running. At the time, I had only one thought on my mind: I have to bring her to safety,” Zhang Guoquan of the Sichuan Armed Police Force said.

Continuous aftershocks and the possibility of falling rocks were challenges for the rescuers. A geological hazard assessment and inspection are in full swing. Over 40 collapse sites and 120 potentially dangerous sites have been identified..

Right now, the post-quake tasks of clearing debris and road repairs are a priority.