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BEIJING, August 9. /TASS/. At least 19 people have died and 247 have been wounded in an earthquake that hit China’s south-western province of Sichuan on Tuesday evening. China Central Television reported on Wednesday that authorities continued search and rescue operations. About 210,000 people live in the disaster area.
The Sichuan province authorities have evacuated more than 45,000 tourists from the Jiuzhaigou county, where the earthquake broke out on Tuesday, a local government official said.
"At 14:30 local time (09:30 Moscow time), evacuation from the earthquake area was organized for more than 45,000 tourists and 5,300 cars," the internet version of the Renmin Ribao (People’s Daily) newspaper quoted him as saying. "At present, about 1,000 independent tourists are waiting for evacuation in safe areas," the local government official reported.
The first earth shocks in the Jiuzhaigou county (Sichuan province) were reported at 21:19 local time (16:19 Moscow time). The strongest of them reached a 7.0 magnitude. The quake struck 280 - 300km north-west of Cehngdu, Sichuan’s capital city, and was 20km deep.
Shaking was also felt in the towns of Lanzhou, Chongqing, Mianyang and Xi'an. About 770 aftershocks were reported within the next few hours. The emergencies headquarters mobilized units of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, People’s Armed Police Force, firefighters, police and people’s militia to eliminate the effects of the quake.
The province authorities reported that a French man and a Canadian woman were among those injured in the earthquake.
Russia’s Embassy to China has not received any information about possible injuries among Russians in the Sichuan province.