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Major quake strikes south west China

A magnitude 6.6 earthquake has struck the Sichuan province in south west China on Saturday killing over 200 people and injuring nearly 12,000.

Landslides caused by the quake and a further 1,300 aftershocks have blocked roads, hampering some response efforts and the delivery of relief supplies.

But the impact of Saturday’s quake is significantly less than the 2008 quake which killed almost 70,000.

Chinese officials have said that international technical assistance from foreign governments and NGOs is not needed at this stage, according to engineering charity RedR.

Consultants Atkins Asia Pacific director Tommy Ng said it was hard to assess the quake’s impact on infrastructure.

“It seems the infrastructure in the affected area is relatively primitive,” said Ng. “The at-grade road system, which connect the villages, are blocked by loose rock and boulders that fell down from the hillside during earthquake.”

Although some remote areas are proving difficult to reach, the number of deaths is not expected to increase dramatically from the figures already reported, according to RedR.

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