China quake toll rises to 24

China combs through quake region for victims

China combs through quake region for victims

The People's Hospital of Jiuzhaigou County received 156 of the injured. The Chinese government is now providing relief efforts and evacuating residents and tourists who have been left stranded by landslides that occured as a result of the quake.

Xi said authorities should check the impact of the quake, evacuate and settle visitors and local people, and reduce death and injuries as much as possible.

The statement said at least 493 were injured in Tuesday's 6.5-magnitude quake, which struck Jiuzhaigou, a popular tourist destination with a national park, forested mountains and over 140 lakes that has been recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Power supply to the 17 towns in Jiuzhaigou county has been restored.

Images on social media or in state news outlets showed cars and buses tossed into ravines or crushed by giant boulders jolted loose from surrounding hills, and rescue personnel combing through rubble for any victims.

The state-run People's Daily Newspaper posted video footage on Twitter reportedly showing tourists cut off in the area lighting a camp fire to keep warm at night.

"Nearly all the tourists are being evacuated", a Jiuzhaigou tour company worker who gave only her surname, Yan, told AFP by phone.

At least eight of the dead were tourists at Jiuzhaigou, which has a national park known for its spectacular waterfalls and karst formations, according to the disaster relief headquarters.

More than 2,000 kilometres (1,200 miles) to the northwest, a 6.3-magnitude tremor shook the far-western border region of Xinjiang on Wednesday morning, according to the US Geological Survey. No buildings collapsed in the quake, but about 1,680 houses were damaged.

Tuesday's natural disaster has brought back memories of the devastating 8.0-magnitude quake in China's Sichuan which left 87,000 people dead or missing back in 2008 - one of the largest earthquakes in human history in terms of loss of human life and material devastation.

The Red Cross Society of China said it was deploying emergency specialists and volunteers to assist affected communities.

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