A powerful earthquake, measuring nearly 6.7 on the Richter Scale, ripped through the Chinese province of Sichuan on Saturday, April 20, killing at least 113 people and leaving thousands more injured. Saturday's earthquake brought unpleasant memories to the people of the southwestern Chinese province which bore the brunt of a catastrophic quake five years ago.
Saturday's quake struck just after 8am local time, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).
The Sichuan earthquake prompted Chinese President Xi Jinping to convene an emergency meeting to coordinate rescue efforts and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang traveled from Beijing to oversee the rescue operation carried out by thousands of emergency workers and soldiers. "The current most urgent issue is grasping the first 24 hours since the quake's occurrence, the golden time for saving lives," state news agency Xinhua had quoted Li as saying.
According to Xu Mengjia, the Communist Party chief of Ya'an, the city that administers the area, the devastation is great and it will take some time to estimate the true extent of human casualty.
The USGS reported that the earthquake was followed by a series of aftershocks, numbering over 200, and some of them recorded greater than 4.0 magnitude.
Flights at the nearby airport in Chengdu and high speed rail operations in the region were briefly suspended following the quake, to facilitate rescue workers reach the affected region quickly.
The extent of damage caused by the Sichuan earthquake on Saturday wasn't as devastating as the 2008 earthquake which left over 5 million people homeless and killed more than 87,000 people.