Deadly earthquake adds to drought, Covid woes in China's Sichuan

Deadly earthquake adds to drought, Covid woes in China's Sichuan

Staff members of Sichuan Provincial People's Hospital test nucleic acid samples inside a mobile laboratory set up at a sports centre, following the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak in Chengdu, Sichuan province, China on Sunday. (Reuters photo)
Staff members of Sichuan Provincial People's Hospital test nucleic acid samples inside a mobile laboratory set up at a sports centre, following the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak in Chengdu, Sichuan province, China on Sunday. (Reuters photo)

A 6.8-magnitude earthquake killed at least seven people in Sichuan province on Monday, in the latest blow to the region in southwestern China hit by Covid lockdowns and a historic drought.

The quake struck in Luding county in western Sichuan, about 226km west of the provincial capital of Chengdu. The shaking damaged houses and triggered landslides, blocking some roads and disrupting power and phone lines, CCTV reported. Tremors were felt in Chengdu, as well as further east in Chongqing.  

The quake comes in the aftermath of a heat wave and drought that caused surging power demand and reduced hydropower generation in the region, leading to widespread power cuts to factories last month. Power was only restored last week when rainfall brought cooler temperatures to the region.

Chengdu has also suffered from a Covid-19 outbreak. The city, with a population of about 21 million people, has been under lockdown since Thursday as officials follow Beijing’s Covid Zero approach to prevent the virus’s spread.

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