Yaan earthquake

Landslides from rain and aftershocks will impede Sichuan quake rescue efforts

PUBLISHED : Monday, 22 April, 2013, 1:32pm
UPDATED : Monday, 22 April, 2013, 4:14pm

Light to moderate rains and mist will sweep across China's quake-hit regions for the next two days said the country’s main meteorological authority, sparking concerns over how transportation and relief work would be affected.

Showers ranging from about five to 20 millimetres are expected to fall on Monday and Tuesday over central Sichuan’s Yaan city, the epicentre of a massive magnitude-7 earthquake that struck the region on Saturday morning, killing at least 186 people. Rainfall generally measures less than 1mm for the region.

The Central Meteorological Observatory warned of the possibility for landslides or other “geological disasters” as a result of rain or aftershocks from the quake.

According to China's Seismological Bureau on Monday, 2,098 aftershocks have been recorded since the Saturady earthquake. At least 91 of them were stronger than a magnitude of 3.0.

With visibility down to 5km, heavy mist will make airdrops of relief supplies more difficult, the observatory said. Roads in quake-stricken areas remain blocked or damaged making delivery by air the most viable way of delivering supplies.

Over the weekend, rescue operations were hampered by a communications shutdown and traffic congestion partly caused by the influx of rescue squads and volunteers to the main scenes of devastation in Lushan and Baoxing counties, near Yaan city.

Also on Monday, China’s top health authority announced that it had dispatched 149 medical teams to the disaster area. In addition, 1,125 rescue personnel and 205 ambulances were also deployed to the area, reported.

Rescue efforts and resources would be concentrated in the cities of Yaan and Chengdu where the bulk of causalities were, the National Health and Planning Commission said.

As of Monday afternoon, about 11,000 people have been reported as injured and 21 are missing.

View Yaan Earthquake in a larger map