China quake toll rises to 617
                 English.news.cn | 2014-08-09 00:27:22 | Editor: yan

CHINA-YUNNAN-EARTHQUAKE (CN)  

People light candles to mourn for the victims after a 6.5-magnitude earthquake in Longtoushan Town under Ludian County of Zhaotong, southwest China's Yunnan Province, Aug. 8, 2014. Death toll from the quake that struck Yunnan on Sunday afternoon has risen to 617 as of 3:00 p.m. Friday. (Xinhua/Hu Chao)

LUDIAN, Yunnan, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) -- With two more bodies retrieved, the death toll from the Yunnan earthquake rose to 617 as of Friday afternoon.

A barrier lake near the border of Ludian and Qiaojia, formed when landslides blocked the Niulan River, still poses a big risk. The water level is still rising.

It is difficult to transport large machinery to the site, but the clear-up operation began on Tuesday with three excavators arriving on the scene.

"Aftershocks cause frequent landslides, which have affected our work. We have to use dynamite to blow up blockages," said rescuer Fan Tianyin.

Two hydropower stations on the lower reaches have discharged nearly 100 million cubic meters of water and one reservoir on the upper reaches has intercepted more than 10 million cubic meters.

The lake has already flooded several villages and forced 8,172 residents to evacuate.

Good news is that all but three roads in quake zone had reopened as of 4 p.m. on Friday.

The quake occurred at 4:30 p.m. Sunday with its epicenter at Longtoushan Township.

Related:

Water supply restored in China quake zone

BEIJING, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) -- Emergency water distribution systems have finally been established after Sunday's earthquake in southwest China's Yunnan Province, providing water to 187,000 people.

Over 185 km of pipelines have been repaired, the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters said on Friday, but there are still 42,900 people without drinking water. Full story

Soldier mourned in China quake zone

LUDIAN, Yunnan, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) -- More than 100 soldiers and residents in Longtoushan Township, many of them in tears, bade farewell to Xie Qiao Friday, a 24-year-old soldier whose body was retrieved four days after he went missing on a rescue mission.

A team of armed police rescuers discovered a body floating on a barrier lake at around 9 a.m. Thursday, and it was soon confirmed to be that of the border policeman. Full story

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