A powerful earthquake devastated China's southwestern region on Saturday leaving more at least 156 people dead and more than 5,500 injured, with expectations that those numbers will surely arise as the recovery efforts continue.
The U.S.G.S. measured the quake that struck China's Sichuan province at magnitude 6.6 on Saturday, three years after another powerful quake in the region where roughly 86,000 people were either killed or reported missing. The Lushan county was hit the worst, and the government is reportedly directing most of the recovery efforts there. The quake reportedly lasted for a full minute's worth of terrifying shaking, and shook buildings, collapsed homes, triggered landslides, and cut power and phone access in the region. State TV showed an emergency center made up of tents set up outside of Lushan's hospital for victims to get treatment. The hospital seems to have only sustained limited damage.
There have been a number of aftershocks, 712 according to China's earthquake administration, with the most powerful one registering at 5.1 magnitude, according to the U.S.G.S. There are fears the continuing aftershocks, and the damage caused by the initial quake, could hamper the rescue efforts and lead to dramatic increase in the death toll. "There was concern that casualties in neighboring Baoxing county might have been under-reported because of inaccessibility after roads were blocked and power and phone services cut off," the Associated Press reports.