Beijing: The multiple earthquakes that struck southwest China claimed 81 lives and left the power and telecom network in disarray, as thousands of rescuers worked overtime to reach the remotest corners of the mountainous region.
A 3.7-magnitude aftershock that occurred in the Yunnan Province yesterday evening buried a two-year-old child under a fallen wall, taking to 81 the number if victims of the quakes.
The Ministry of Civil Affairs said today that the effects of the Friday`s 5.7 shallow quake and the series of aftershocks that followed it, have killed 81 people in the city of Zhaotong.
The power and telecommunication networks, that were hit badly by the shocks, have been restored to a large extent, according to a report in the state-run Xinhua news agency.
Over 11,000 rescue workers have been joined in by 7,200 soldiers in the ongoing rescue and relief operations, that were focusing on clearing roads, evacuating residents and searching for the missing.
Officials said the death toll may climb further, as the quakes have seriously damaged telecommunications and traffic infrastructure, making it difficult to collect information so far.
Zhao Ning, deputy director of the provincial telecoms regulatory bureau, said phone services were now almost back to normal following the repair of telecommunications facilities.
Power had been restored to about 90 per cent of the quake- affected residents, the China Southern Power Grid Corporation said.
The earthquake had left a total of 90,795 people without power, the company said, but the power has now been restored to as many as 80,000 people.