Chinese authorities are continuing their rescue and relief efforts following the powerful earthquake that struck Jiuzhaigou County in the northern part of Sichuan province Tuesday night.
Rescue teams, including personnel from the People’s Liberation Army, are searching for victims as well as offering help to those stranded in the wake of the 7.0 magnitude quake.
However, the efforts don’t seem to be enough, with people complaining about inadequate response from the local government, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
As anxious citizens tried to determine whether their family members, relatives and friends in the quake-hit areas were safe, there were accusations that authorities had concealed the gravity of the disaster.
The earthquake relief headquarters said on Thursday that there were 20 confirmed deaths due to the quake, and that another 493 people suffered injuries.
As officials did not release any figures as to how many people were still missing, or had been lost contact with, nearly 10,000 citizens turned to media outlets, including China National Radio and Toutiao, for help by posting missing people’s information on the online platforms set up by them.
A person living in Shuzheng village, which was among those hit by the quake, said there are still more than 10 people stranded there with no water and food, and that the government has not shown any concern so far.
A senior official in the province admitted that some people might have been trapped in mountainous areas.
As roads to the mountains were completely destroyed, rescuers were finding it difficult to reach some villages, he said.
The only possible way at the moment is to use civilian helicopters for rescue purposes since military choppers are too big to land on the mountains, the official said, stressing that the government will do its best to save victims and ease social anxiety.
There were reports that 10 people were rescued by helicopter after they were found stranded near Arrow Bamboo Lake, one of the famous scenic spots in Jiuzhai Valley National Park. Four others in the group were still missing.
Meanwhile, 27 people were potted at Rizegou, another scenic spot, but only five of them were taken out of there on Thursday.
According to the Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, there have been nearly 1,800 aftershocks, posing a big challenge for rescue operations.
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