Death Toll Rises in Tuesday's Powerful Earthquake in China's Sichuan Province

China landslide sichuan gengdi

Over 50,000 tourists, including 126 foreigners, were evacuated following Tuesday's deadly natural disaster in China's Sichuan province that killed 19 persons, the authorities announced on Thursday.

AFP journalists in Jiuzhaigou, a popular tourist destination near the epicentre of Tuesday night's 6.5-magnitude quake, saw dozens of relief and military trucks rolling through the remote corner of Sichuan province.

A seven point zero magnitude quake has killed at least 13 people and injured scores more in China's south-western province of Sichuan as reports suggest the death toll could rise.

Chinese state media claim some tourists were camping out at Jiuzhaigou airport, awaiting flights to their home countries.

Of the 19 people reported killed, eight were thought to be tourists, two local residents and nine were not yet identified, Reuters reported.

Jiuzhaigou, or Jiuzhai Valley, is a national park known for spectacular waterfalls and karst formations.

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As the quake knocked out power and phone networks, rescuers dug through rubble with their hands.

According to Wisma Putra, the Malaysian Consulate-General in Kunming has not received any report of Malaysians injured in the quake or stranded in Jiuzhaigou.

The Consulate General of Japan in Chongqing said that apart from a Japanese tour group already confirmed as safe, it has confirmed that some individual Japanese tourists were in the quake zone. The epicenter was about 39 kilometers (24 miles) from the county of Jiuzhaigou, which has a population of around 80,000, and was 285 kilometers (177 miles) from Chengdu, the densely populated capital of Sichuan province, reported AP.

Rescue officials said most of the deaths and injuries were recorded in Zhangzha township, just outside the park area.

An official in southwestern China says a powerful natural disaster near a popular national park has killed five tourists and injured 63 other people.

People in neighbouring cities of Urumqi, Changji, Yining and Karamay felt strong tremors that lasted 10 to 20 seconds.

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