A 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Jiuzhaigou County in the northern part of Sichuan province Tuesday night, killing at least 13 people.
The quake struck at 9:19 p.m. a few kilometers from the Jiuzhai Valley National Park. The casualties included tourists, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
President Xi Jinping has ordered relief and rescue efforts speeded up. Local governments have activated top-level emergency response procedures, according to Xinhua.
The Ministry of Civil Affairs said the death toll could surpass 100, along with more than 1,000 people injured.
Government data showed that the quake was a shallow one at a depth of 20 kilometers. Its epicenter was eight kilometers from popular tourist attractions such as Wolong Hai and Nuorilang Waterfall.
Some tourists said they saw the sky spinning when the quake hit.
It was felt as far away as Chengdu, capital of Sichuan, which is 300 kilometers away.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong’s Immigration Department said it had received requests for assistance from 13 Hongkongers or their families as of 2 a.m. Wednesday.
No Hong Kong tourists were reported among the casualties, according to news website hk01.com. The department confirmed three Hongkongers in the disaster-hit area had lost contact with their families.
All three had been accounted for by Wednesday afternoon, according to Hong Kong media reports
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