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Sichuan quake: As death toll reaches 20 Hong Kong and Taiwan offer help

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Chengdu (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Chinese authorities have confirmed that the earthquake that struck northern Sichuan two days ago killed 20 people and injured another 263. Tens of thousands of people have been moved to safer locations.

The quake hit Jiuzhaigou, an area popular with tourists. Just the day before the quake some 40,000 visitors were at the location. Foreigners injured in the tremor include tourists from France, South Korea, and Canada.

Due to the number of aftershocks yesterday, many of the evacuees refused to sleep in a confined space and spent the night outdoors. Meanwhile, electricity and essential communications have restored. The local airport continued to operate despite the tremor.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong and Taiwan have offered assistance to survivors.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, who is currently visiting Beijing, said she was saddened by the casualties, adding the autonomous region would support reconstruction work.

In a strong signal of goodwill, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen said in a tweet on Wednesday that the island was willing to provide assistance with the rescue work. Beijing suspended official contact with the island in June last year, after Tsai took office.

China’s central bank said it was working to resume financial services as soon as possible in quake-hit areas to guarantee financial support for rescue operations and reconstruction.

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