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Twin disasters shake China

At least 124 people were killed and more than 3,000 others injured when an earthquake measuring 7.0 Richter struck China’s Sichuan province yesterday. The earthquake hit Lushan county of Ya’an city at 8.02 am, China Earthquake Networks Center (CENC) said. The epicentre, with a depth of 13 km, was monitored at 30.3 degrees north latitude and 103.0 degrees east longitude. Firefighters pulled out 49 survivors from collapsed structures. Among the survivors was a pregnant woman and two children. About 1,500 people have been evacuated to safer places.

The National Health and Family Planning Commission has dispatched a medical emergency response team consisting of more than 180 doctors. Another team, comprising 19 doctors from the General Hospital of Armed Police Forces, are taking surgery equipment and more than 5,000 types of medicine to the region. The ministry of civil affairs has dispatchedrelief materials, including tents, blankets and makeshift beds.

Meanwhile, the nationwide death toll due to the H7N9 avian influenza in China rose to 18 with 95 cases reported so far. The Department of Health in Zhejiang province reported that a 69-year-old man surnamed Xu died Friday night after emergency treatment failed. Confirming the upswing in the bird flu cases, the National Health and Family Planning Commission said that 32 cases, including 11 that have ended in death, have been reported from Shanghai alone.  

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