World Bulletin/News Desk
At least five people were killed and 54 injured in a strong earthquake that hit a mountainous province of southwestern China, state media reported Sunday.
Among the injured were 43 children hurt in a stampede when the quake struck their primary school in Tagong town, the epicentre of the 6.3-magnitude quake that hit Kangding County, Sichuan Province, on Saturday afternoon.
Three of those injured are in a critical condition and a further five have severe wounds, Xinhua news agency said, citing the prefecture government.
A woman in her 70s was killed when debris fell on her head, according to Chen Yunbing, a doctor at Ganzi People's Hospital.
President Xi Jinping, who is in Fiji, said provincial and civil affairs authorities must organize a rapid rescue and relief operation to minimize casualties, according to the agency.
More than 79,500 people were affected and 25,000 houses were damaged. About 6,200 people had been relocated.
Xi asked local authorities to strengthen post-quake monitoring and resettle those affected. He also ordered the military and armed police to support relief efforts.
A 35-member police rescue team arrived at Tagong two hours after the quake hit at 16.55 local time (10.55 Turkish time). Six military aircraft, 60 medical staff and nearly 1,000 soldiers and militia are on standby.
Sichuan is a mountainous and sparsely-populated region prone to earthquakes.
The quake zone has experienced at least 95 aftershocks, with the strongest measuring 2.3-magnitude.
Minor cracks appeared in some buildings at Kangding airport but flights were not affected, Tan Heng, an airport clerk, told Xinhua.
Citizens in Chengdu, the provincial capital, said they felt the quake strongly and a section of the G318 highway, which links Tibet and Sichuan, caved in leaving more than 100 vehicles stuck on the highway.
A massive 8.0-magnitude earthquake struck in May 2008, leaving more than 80,000 dead or missing. In August, at least 617 people died when a 6.5 magnitude quake struck neighboring Yunnan province.
On Thursday, Iraqi F-16 fighter jets struck ISIL positions in Syria
On Thursday, Iraqi F-16 fighter jets struck ISIL locations in neighboring Syria
Turkish Historical Society head cites research from past wars
Palestinian president stresses on 2-state solution to conflict, calls East Jerusalem capital
Israeli snipers have killed 39 protesters and injured thousands who posed no threat, says Swiss-based group
Foreign Minister Cavusoglu to address UN General Assembly on Turkey’s contributions, approach to UN efforts
At least 39 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli gunfire near Gaza border
Serbia's ambassador to Ankara says 5 government ministers will accompany Serbian president
He acted quickly -- just a day after decades of Castro rule ended and long time party loyalist Miguel Diaz-Canel assumed power as president.
Multimillion-dollar lawsuit raises issue of hacking of Democratic National Committee’s servers
Syrian regime would be 'ill-advised' to ignore message sent by last week’s allied missile strike, says US Defense Secretary
At least 39 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli interventions since border rallies began March 30
Thursday’s vote make Diaz-Canel first person outside Castro family to rule country in almost 60 years
Syrian regime had no clear picture of what was happening to them, says U.S. general, referring to U.S.-led joint attack
Hamas, Islamic Jihad announced plans earlier to boycott scheduled meeting of PLO’s National Council
Canadian provinces at war over future delivery of oil to Pacific countries