A magnitude 6.6 earthquake has hit south-western China, killing at least 192 people and injuring thousands.
The Chinese seismological bureau initially measured the quake at magnitude 7. Strong jolts toppled buildings at 8am local time, sending people into the streets in their underwear and wrapped in blankets.
6,000 troops have been dispatched to assist in clearing the area and helping rescue efforts.
Lushan, where the quake struck, is home to 1.5 million people. Known for its mountains, the area is near a well-known preserve for pandas.
The quake struck near the area where another devastating earthquake left 90,000 dead or missing and presumed dead in 2008.
17:22 GMT: Power supply has been partly restored in
Chinese counties isolated by the earthquake, Xinhua reported. The
counties where electricity has returned include Lushan, with
emergency teams also starting to put the power network back in use
in Baoxing and Tianquan, CCTVNews said. In those parts of China,
particularly in remote mountainous areas, people spent at least 33
hours in isolation after the quake left them without food, water or
13:11 GMT: A Russian rescue team is preparing to fly to China to take part in the search and rescue operation and assist with the recovery efforts, the Siberian regional center of Russia’s Emergencies Ministry spokesman told Interfax. Seventy-one Siberian rescuers are to fly on board of Il-76, which is expected to depart within hours.
Earlier the Chinese Foreign Ministry thanked foreign governments for offers of help, but said the country was able to cope with the situation on its own.
“Taking into account the road situation and the [disruption of] telecommunications in the area affected by the earthquake, foreign rescue and medical teams, as well as humanitarian help, are not needed at the moment,” a spokesman said.
Wu Xing village, 5 Km from Lushan, desperately needs bottles of water and packets of instant noodles. (Verified netizen account) #earthquake— CCTVNEWS (@cctvnews) April 21, 2013
"The Lushan county centre is getting back to normal, but the need is still considerable in terms of shelter and materials," Kevin Xia of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said.
"Supplies have had difficulty getting into the region because of the traffic jams. Most of our supplies are still on the way," Xia said.
4:56 GMT: The quake death toll climbs to 192 dead. 23 others are missing. The number of injured stands at some 11,500 people, 960 of them in serious condition.
4:43 GMT: More than 1.5 million people have reportedly
been affected by Saturday's strong earthquake, Ministry of Civil
Affairs said. The quake has affected 69 counties in the province.
"A large number of buildings collapsed and were damaged in the
quake-hit area. The authorities are still checking the details
since the communication and transport are not fully available,"
the statement from the ministry said.
03:00 GMT: The death toll now stands at 180 with 11,227
injured, Xinhua reports citing the provincial emergency response
command center on Sunday.
2:16 GMT: The death toll from the Sichuan earthquake
rises to 179, Xinhua news agency reports, citing the China
Earthquake Administration. Most of the deaths occurred in the city
of Ya’an, where 164 people were killed. Almost 7,000 people have
After the earthquake 846 aftershocks have been recorded, including 57 above 3.0 magnitude and two between 5.0-5.9 magnitude, China Daily reports.
17:32 GMT: Death toll climbs to 160 - Civil Affairs
Ministry via Xinhua.
15:55 GMT: Google has opened a service to find people in Sichuan after
14:32 GMT: More than 360 Taiwan's tourists were in the province when the earthquake hit, said Ma Shaw-chang, spokesman of Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation, adding that they are all safe.
14:29 GMT: Medical and rescue teams are on stand-by in Taiwan to assist the mainland's efforts, said Taiwan's Red Cross Society. Two rescue teams in Taipei and Kaohsiung will be dispatched if requested by the mainland, said the society’s official Spencer Chen, according to Xinhua. Blankets, tents and sleeping bags have been packed for delivery, life detectors and excavating equipment will be included if necessary.
14:07 GMT:France is ready to help the Chinese government to provide any assistance it may need, said the French Foreign Ministry.
"It is with deep emotion that we learned a new earthquake ... had hit Sichuan province," the ministry said in a statement as cited by Xinhua news agency. "France shares the grief of the Chinese people, already deeply wounded by the disaster in May 2008 in Sichuan Province."
12:50 GMT: Some 7,941 soldiers are reportedly engaged in
rescue operations in the earthquake zone. 10,000 more are at
stand-by to be dispatched at any moment.
12:32 GMT: Death toll climbs to 156, over 1.5
million people affected - China Earthquake Administration.
11:50 GMT: A seven-year-old child was rescued from a collapsed home. He spent nine hours in the arms of his dead mother. The boy survived the quake without physical injuries.
11:40 GMT: 4.5 aftershock registered 27km West of
Linqiong, China, epicenter 10km deep.
10:53 GMT: A total of 3,870 armed police are in Lushan
county assisting with rescue efforts. Nearly 200 technicians have
been dispatched to disaster-hit areas to repair the
telecommunications network. Infrastructure remains intact in
Sichuan, but is badly damaged and broken in the epicenter and
nearby. Two hundred and seventy-nine telecommunication base
stations have collapsed after the quake.
10:46 GMT: China has dispatched drones to capture images of quake-hit areas, according to the National Administration of Surveying, Mapping and Geoinformation. The drone images will cover the hardest-hit Baoxing, Taiping and Longmen townships.
10:40 GMT: 516 aftershocks reported after Sichuan
earthquake, more aftershocks expected - China Earthquake Networks
10:28 GMT: Nearly all of the structures in Longmen
village reported collapsed and nearly 10,000 houses damaged
throughout the earthquake-hit county. Hard-hit parts of the region
remain unreachable by road, with several highways cut off.
According to authorities, the power grid has been disrupted and
phone services are only partially available.
Picture: Chinese Premier, Li Keqiang monitoring the rescue from a shelter in Longmen township. twitter.com/cctvnews/statu…— CCTVNEWS (@cctvnews) April 20, 2013
9:33 GMT: It is estimated that 90% of all houses in Ya’an
area collapsed due to the earthquake.
9:13 GMT: One of the injured soldiers from the bus that fell into the river, died in hospital. New reports suggest, more than 3,000 people were injured by the quake. The death toll currently stands at 102.
8:35 GMT: Vladimir Putin sent his condolences to the Chinese leader and offered help in assisting with the aftermath of the earthquake.
8:31 GMT: About 80,000 prisoners have been evacuated from prisons in Sichuan. Among them, more than 2,000 were evacuated from a prison in Ya’an county. No deaths were reported among the prisoners, but one person was injured in the leg.
8:20 GMT: The Ya'an quake has resulted in serious
casualties and economic losses, but it is not expected to be as
disastrous as the 8.0-magnitude Wenchuan quake that left nearly
90,000 dead or missing in May 2008, China Earthquake Networks
Center spokesman said.
8:17 GMT: A total of 264 aftershocks had been monitored
so far, two of which were above 5.0-magnitude, according to the
China Earthquake Administration. Possibilities of aftershocks
stronger than 7.0-magnitude are small, they say.
8:01 GMT: Chinese authorities warn of possible aftershocks and secondary disasters, including landslides, mud-rock flows, and the collapse of caves and riverbanks.
7:53 GMT: 4.6 aftershock registered 39km West of
Linqiong, China, depth 10km.
7:26 GMT: The Ministry of Civil Affairs has dispatched
relief materials to the ground, including 30,000 tents, 50,000
cotton blankets and 10,000 make-shift beds.
7:15 GMT: The fire corps of Sichuan Province has sent a
reinforcement team of 615 firefighters with 110 fire-fighting
vehicles and six sniffer dogs, as well as one medical team to the
6:37 GMT: Hard-hit parts of the county remained unreachable by road, with phone services cut off, but some text and Internet services continuing, state media report.
6:20 GMT: Rescue workers turned a square outside the
Lushan's county hospital into a triage center with medical
personnel treating the wounded.
6:04 GMT: Rescuers in Lushan had pulled 27 survivors out of rubble, Xinhua reported.
"We are very busy right now, there are about eight or nine injured people, the doctors are handling the cases," said a doctor at a Ya'an hospital who gave her family name as Liu.
5:59 GMT: Numerous aftershocks jolted the area, the largest of which was magnitude 5.1.
5:57 GMT: "There are still shakes and tremors and our
area is safe. The pandas are safe," said a spokesman with
Ya'an's Bifengxia nature park, a tourism park that houses more than
5:42 GMT: "I was putting my make up on in the bathroom, I suddenly saw the mirror moving. I felt it could be a quake, so I just ran out of the building," a resident of Meishan, south of the provincial capital Chengdu, told AP.
5:27 GMT: Xinhua news agency reports serious collapses of homes, with many old houses in Lushan destroyed. Many people are reported trapped in the collapsed buildings.
5:15 GMT: China's premier Li Keqiang is on his way to the earthquake zone in the province of Sichuan.
CCTV reporting a collapsed kindergarten school. #earthquake.— Robert Speta (@robertspeta) April 20, 2013
5:12 GMT: Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang ordered all possible measures to be taken to rescue victims and minimize deaths and injuries.
4:52 GMT: Most of the deaths were concentrated in Lushan,
where water and electricity were cut off. Pictures on Chinese news
sites showed collapsed buildings and people in bloodied bandages
being treated in hospital.
The earthquake occurred at 8.02 a.m. (00:02 GMT) in Lushan county near Ya'an city and the epicenter had a depth of 12 km (7.5 miles), the US Geological Survey said.