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China: Red Cross on the spot as new earthquake strikes

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By Red Cross Red Crescent staff in China

Red Cross Society of China swings into action after new tremors cause fresh casualties and damage in Sichaun and Yunnan provinces.

The 6.1-magnitude earthquake that jolted southwest China's Sichuan and Yunnan provinces on Saturday 30 August has killed 32 people and injured more than 400 people, according to local authorities.

More than 300 aftershocks were also monitored in the quake zone as of 05:00 on 31 August, some as high as 5.6 magnitude. All affected areas are on the southern end of the fault line that resulted in the 12 May earthquake that killed more than 69,000 people and left nearly 18,000 missing.

The Red Cross Society of China immediately allocated 2,000 quilts, 2,000 jackets, 500 family kits and water purifiers from its regional warehouses to the affected area. An assessment team is in the area gathering data to ensure an effective response.

Displaced

Panzhihua City Quake Control and Relief Headquarters on Sunday confirmed more than 70,000 people in the city were affected, while more than 32,000 people were displaced. In total, 38,425 residences suffered damage in the quake, 363 of which were completely destroyed. Seven reservoirs, 22 highways and three bridges and some 100 schools were also damaged.

"I am afraid these schools will not open for the new semester starting on Monday," said Shen Zhiqiang, an official with the Panzhihua City bureau of education. "The figure [of schools affected by the quake] might go up, as damages to some primary schools based in remote mountainous villages have not been reported yet due to inconvenient transport conditions."

Further south, 600,000 people in five regions of Yunnan were also affected by the earthquake. This included five deaths, more than 170 injured people and the destruction of 130,000 residences, said a source at the Yunnan Provincial Bureau of Civil Affairs.

The worst hit was Chuxiong, where the five deaths were recorded. The incident destroyed 111,448 homes, 656 school buildings and 213 buildings totalling 65,554 square metres of floor space. The direct economic loss was put about 73 million US dollars, according to the office for the quake control and relief headquarters of Chuxiong. Sichuan reported 27 deaths and the other five were in Yunnan, the ministry said Sunday night.