September 1, 2013 – China Quake Kills Five, Injuries 24: An earthquake on Saturday (August 31st) hit a remote part of southwest China near the popular tourist area of Shangri-La, killing five people and injuring 24 more, China state media said.
The earthquake in Yunnan province on the border with Sichuan province sparked landslides, blocked roads, trapped tourist buses, cut off communications and toppled or damaged tens of thousands of homes in the mountainous area.
The driver of a tourist bus died and three tourists were injured as falling rocks smashed into the vehicle, said the official Xinhua news agency. Three other tourist buses were trapped by landslides triggered by the quake and aftershocks. In total, Xinhua said 24 people including seven tourists were injured. The nationality of the wounded tourists is unknown. The 5.8-magnitude quake, which struck at 8:04 am (00:04 GMT), was centered on Yunnan’s Benzilan town, the US Geological Survey (USGS) said. It was about 10 kilometres (six miles) deep.
The quake toppled 600 homes and damaged more than 55,000 others, forcing over 9,000 local residents to relocate, Xinhua said. Photos posted online showed soldiers helping to evacuate an injured woman (see photo above), and damaged vehicles. State television showed clouds of dust rising from landslides (see photo below) on green mountains, and pieces of broken cement that had fallen from buildings.
“During the earthquake this morning, the swaying the county felt was relatively severe,” Xinhua quoted Liao Wencai, deputy party secretary of Deqin County, as saying. Benzilan is in Deqin County, roughly 60 kilometres from Shangri-La County, which is named after the fictional mountain paradise in the James Hilton novel “Lost Horizon” (see below).
The Master of Disaster