Death toll rises to 10 in northwest China earthquakes

Beijing (dpa) - The casualty toll has risen to 10 dead and 43 injured after two powerful earthquakes destroyed thousands of homes in northwestern China over the weekend, officials and state media said on Monday.

The homes of some 137,000 people in 175 villages of Gansu province were damaged or destroyed by earthquakes measuring 6.1 and 5.8 on the Richter scale, the reports said.

The earthquakes damaged three major reservoirs and 47 bridges and brought down several kilometres of power lines, the official Xinhua news agency said.

Initial estimates put the cost of damages at 327 million yuan (39.6 million U.S. dollars) after the quakes struck Saturday evening.

Engineers released water on Sunday from two reservoirs to reduce the risk of cracked dams breaking and causing floods.

Seismologists said they did not expect major aftershocks to follow the two earthquakes.

Emergency workers distributed tents and blankets to people made homeless in the worst-hit districts of Minle and Shandan, about 500 kilometres northwest of the provincial capital Lanzhou.

Nighttime temperatures in Gansu, one of China's poorest regions, have already dipped below freezing.

dpa bs blg AP-NY-10-27-03 0507EST

Copyright (c) 2003 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH
Received by NewsEdge Insight: 10/27/2003 05:07:31


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