As of Friday, August 11th, 20 people were killed and 413 more in the Jiuzhaigou earthquake that struck the world-level tourist area in Sichuan province late at night on August 8th. So far, over 10,910 families and 44,129 individuals have been directly affected by the quake (China News Network).
Jiuzhaigou boasts a wide variety of water bodies (including lakes, waterfalls, rivers, and streams), mountains, and forests as a part of its well-protected plateau ecosystem. Tragically, besides casualties, multiple famous sites, including Nuorilang waterfall, the widest in China, were destroyed.
Almost immediately after the incident, the Chinese authorities classified the earthquake as a Level I Emergency and dispatched 400 trucks, 1,100 firefighters, 55 life detectors, 30 rescue dogs, and 24 power generators in response. The region suffered power loss, and residents in Chengdu, the provincial capitol of Sichuan, reported the experience of aftershock.
Regarding the power of the earthquake, there is disagreement between authorities. China Earthquake Networks Center reported a 7.0-magnitude, but US Geological Survey reported a 6.5-magnitude. In the most recent decade, a 7.9-magnitude earthquake that took place in Wenchuan, a city also located in Sichuan province, caused the death of approximately 87,150 and the displacement of 4,800,000 individuals. Going back to 1976, the Tangshan earthquake killed over 255,000 people, making it the most lethal earthquake that took place in the most recent century. Although Jiuzhaigou, a tourist area, boasts a less dense population than urban regions like Wenchuan and Tangshan, the government has successfully prevented the incident from turning into a full-scale catastrophe.
Over 2,736 tents, 2,799 blankets, 699 pieces of cotton clothing, and 308 folded beds were distributed among the victims of this disaster. Around 2.38 million RMB (35.7 thousand USD) were received as donations three days after the earthquake. The swiftness with which the local and central authorities collaborated to solve the problem is unprecedented. Besides reacting to and solving the issue in a far quicker pace, the infrastructure, including schools and residential buildings, is significantly enhanced. The improvements in reaction speed and infrastructure, it turned out, has save countless lives that could have been lost during the Jiuzhaigou earthquake.
China News Network. “九寨沟地震已致20人死亡431人受伤 4.4万余人受灾_新闻频道_中华网.” 新闻频道 – 中华网, news.china.com/socialgd/10000169/20170811/31077063.html. Accessed 7 Sept. 2017.
“Jiuzhaigou’s Tourism Industry Ponders Its Future After Quake.” South China Morning Post, www.scmp.com/news/china/society/article/2106540/jiuzhaigous-tourism-industry-ponders-its-future-after-quake.
“Powerful Earthquake Kills at Least 19 in China, Hundreds Injured.” CNN, edition.cnn.com/2017/08/08/asia/china-earthquake/index.html.
“Sichuan 2008: A Disaster on an Immense Scale.” BBC News, www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-22398684.