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Heavy rains add to Yiliang quake woes

(Global Times)

08:38, September 12, 2012

Rescuers on Tuesday pull an ambulance out of the mud in Yiliang county, Yunnan province.(China Daily/WEI XIAOHAO)

Thousands of people have been evacuated from Yiliang county, Southwest China's Yunnan Province, after torrential rain hit the earthquake-stricken area Monday and Tuesday, leading to mudslides, disrupting traffic and water supplies.

Rescue teams and donation campaigners are calling for aid nationwide, as the deluge, the biggest in Yiliang's recorded history, flooded villages and farmlands after two earthquakes claimed 81 lives since Friday.

The rainstorm, which swept several villages and townships late Monday to Tuesday morning with a maximum 166.2 millimeters rainfall in Luozehe township, has led to floods and affected at least 105,000 residents, according to the Zhaotong municipal government that oversees Yiliang county.

Three major roads are blocked and mobile communication signals in several villages have been cut off. Some centers for evacuated earthquake victims were destroyed in the floods, said Cheng Lianyuan, deputy mayor of Zhaotong. Some 63 people were injured in mudslides and hospitalized by Tuesday afternoon, but no casualties caused by the rain were reported.

"Most of the residents whose houses are flooded have been safely evacuated, but there are still many stranded on mountains without tents or food," said Shui Cao with the Blue Sky Rescue Team, a volunteer organization.

Two earthquakes on Friday, with the first of 5.7 magnitude in Yiliang and the second of 5.6 magnitude on the border of Yiliang and Weining county, Sichuan have claimed 81 lives and left more than 800 injured.

The county is in urgent need of quilts, tents and drinking water, but many disaster relief supplies have not been able to reach the victims due to the disruption to traffic caused by floods and landslides, Zhang Guoyuan, head of a local charity center, told the Global Times.

"Electricity and water supplies, which were restored after the earthquakes, have been cut again by the heavy rain in some areas," said Shi Famei, an employee with Yiliang's civil affairs bureau.

The central government allocated more than 1 billion yuan for Yunnan's disaster-relief efforts, and the earthquake victims will be receiving a 10 yuan allowance per day for three months. Yunnan had received more than 70 million yuan in donations by Sunday.

By press time, several blocked roads were fixed, and telecommunications have been resumed, according to local authorities.

Another two earthquakes of magnitude 4.7 and 4.9 hit Yunnan's Shidian county at around 11:20 am on Tuesday. The earthquakes have affected 86,923 residents and injured six people, authorities said.

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