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Rescue operations underway as another quake hits western China


At least 19 people were killed and almost 250 others injured after a powerful 7.0-magnitude natural disaster struck a mountainous region in China's southwest Sichuan province, with rescuers today evacuating over 45,000 tourists from the area, according to the official media.

Rescuers picked away rubble from around a body in an area shaken by a powerful quake in mountainous southwestern China, then stood silently in a row, with helmets off and heads bowed to pay their respects. Jiuzhaigou is a popular tourist destination in the mountains on the eastern edge of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau where the tremor was strongly felt.

According to the Sichuan government, tourists were evacuated and residents had been cut off by landslides.

State television said another tourist had been pulled out alive from rubble in a different part of Jiuzhaigou.

The provincial meteorological bureau said Wednesday that rain is in the forecast, which could trigger flooding and landslides.

Meanwhile, Malaysian Chinese Tourism Association deputy president Jackson Thian said the quake has not affected China-bound Malaysian tourists very much as August is not the peak season for Malaysians to visit Jiuzhaigou.

Some 10,500 people have been moved from damaged buildings to emergency shelters, CCTV said.

At around 6 AM, the first emergency rescue flight carrying a team of almost 100 arrived at the Jiuzhai-Huanglong Airport, the transportation hub for relief work. China's deadliest natural disaster this century, a magnitude 7.9 temblor in May 2008, struck the same mountainous prefecture as Tuesday's quake, killing almost 90,000 people.

A temblor in Sichuan in May 2008 killed nearly 70,000 people.

Extreme weather this summer has triggered a series of landslides and floods across China, leaving scores dead and tens of thousands displaced.

THE magnitude 7 quake that rocked Jiuzhaigou County in China's southwestern Sichuan Province late on Tuesday night has prompted some Malaysians to withdraw from upcoming tours to the picturesque Jiuzhai Valley or Jiuzhaigou.

Director of the Sichuan Health and Family Planning Commission, Shen Ji, stated that more than 500 medical personnel and over 30 ambulances have been deployed, with an additional 200-person medical aid team on standby in Gansu province.

Most of the deaths and injuries were recorded in Zhangzha township, near Jiuzhaigou national park in Sichuan province that is listed by UNESCO as a world heritage site.

The Xinjiang quake's epicenter was in Jinghe county, about 100 km (60 miles) from the border with Kazakhstan, where about 140,000 people live, according to Xinhua.

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