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Tibet quake toll rises to 20; forecast of rain, snow

April 27, 2015 09:11 IST

The death toll in southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region due to the devastating earthquake that hit neighbouring Nepal climbed to 20 on Monday as the government continued to reach out to people in the affected areas.

Besides, a total of 58 people there have been injured and four are missing, according to the Regional Disaster Relief Headquarters.

The 7.9 Richter Scale temblor that struck Nepal on Saturday also affected parts of Tibet. The two border ports to Nepal were seriously affected.

Some 24,800 people have been relocated in Xigaze City. The highway linking Xigaze and the Zham Pass, the border port to Nepal, has been cut by landslides.

Four persons including a Nepalese national, were missing in Nyalam County. About 80 tourists, including 12 foreigners, were visiting the county when the earthquake occurred, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

The earthquake tragedy in Nepal, worst in over 80 years in the Himalayan nation, has so far claimed over 3,200 lives, including five Indians, and left more than 6,000 others injured.

Joining international humanitarian efforts, China on Sunday also sent a 60-member search-and-rescue team to offer assistance to its neighbour.

Couillard, a Canadian tourist, told Xinhua, that he saw many ambulances and fire engines on the road in Xigaze and felt very safe.

He still hopes to head toward the base camp of Mount Everest.

The quake toppled 1,206 houses and destroyed 9,974 of them, damaged roads and cut telecommunications in Xigaze, where 54 temples were also damaged.

A 5.9-magnitude aftershock shook Xigaze at 5:17 pm (local time) on Saturday and a 5.3-magnitude quake jolted Nyalam County at 1:42 am (local time) yesterday, China Earthquake Networks Centre recorded.

Weather forecast has predicted continuous rain and snow for the next few days.

Over 400 mountaineers from more than 20 countries on the Tibetan side of Mount Qomolangma have descended or are descending to the north base camp at 5,200 meters (16,900 ft) with no casualties reported.

Currently, Xigaze City has sent 17,361 rescuers and 34 large machines to the quake-hit area.

Electricity supply has resumed as of 10:10 pm on Sunday in Gyirong County, the Tibet Power Company of the State Grid said.

According to the Ministry of Transport, traffic resumed at National Highway 318 linking Nyalam County to Dingri County as of 10 pm.

The road linking Nyalam to Zham Town were severely damaged. Rescuers are working hard to remove the blocking stones.

The ministry has allocated 10 million Yuan (about $1.6 million or Rs 10.2 crore) of funds to Tibet.

The central government has sent 5,000 tents, 30,000 coats, 30,000 comforters, 15,000 folding beds and 15,000 sleeping bags to the affected area.

The regional government has sent tents, coats, food, medicine and drinking water.

Tibet military command has deployed 1,050 soldiers and members of the militia, 60 medical staff and 87 vehicles.

More rescuers from the regional military area are on the way.

About 600 border guards are involved in rescue operations in Nyalam and Gyirong.

Rescuers are braving heavy snow and rain to reach the affected area.

"Aftershocks are our biggest worry at the moment, because there is nowhere to hide," Gyanga Tseten, detachment head of Xigaze Fire Brigade, who is leading a 30-member task force to Zham Pass, about 37 km from Nyalam, said.

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