As of Aug. 6, the death toll of the earthquake that hit Yunnan, China has reached 589. The earthquake reached a magnitude of 6.1 in Ludin county, which is an area 225 miles north of Kunming, the capital, and even caused some damage in the surrounding areas of Guizhou and Sichuan.
The earthquake in China, however, was not the first in the region. In 1970, an earthquake reaching a magnitude of 7.7 killed approximately 15,000 people. In 2008, an earthquake took the lives of 90,000 in the Sichuan area, and an earthquake in 2012 left 81 people dead.
In response to this devastating natural disaster, rescue teams are working to recover as much of the area and as many lives as they possibly can.
The rescue teams have been working to dig bodies and survivors out from among the rubble and debris, but their progress is often halted by torrential rainstorms, landslides and the recurring tremors that constantly plague the region. Liu Jianhua, a senior local official, told the Guardian that “the blocked roads and the continuous downpours have made some disaster areas inaccessible for heavy relief vehicles.”
The state news agency Xinhua reported that although the government sent 2,000 tents, 3,000 quilts, 3,000 coats and 3,000 folding beds, the weather in the region is making it extremely difficult to provide the afflicted families with any relief. Thus far, 300 policemen and firefighters and 2,500 troops have been sent to help those hurt, homeless, and/or still trapped under the debris from the earthquake.
The rescue crews are also urgently trying to evacuate survivors whose residences are in what is being called the “quake lake,” which is an area where the water level is rising approximately one meter per hour. Twenty homes have already been destroyed by this rising water.
Although the rescue teams are doing their best, it doesn’t seem to be enough. A resident of the impacted area told The Guardian that “all the houses in the town have been damaged by the earthquake and at least two-thirds of them so badly that they could not be used anymore. Every few minutes there are people being carried away from the rubble.”
– Jordyn Horowitz