BEIJING – Tens of thousands of earthquake victims in southwest China were living in tents or in the open Monday, fearful of returning to their damaged homes a day after a magnitude 6.4 quake killed three and injured at least 300.
Hundreds of aftershocks sent jittery residents scurrying for safety.
“We worry so much about the aftershocks. This morning we had one, and we hid anyplace we could think of,” said Cai Zhongting, who was living with his family in a tent.
The quake struck near China’s border with Laos shortly after 5:30 a.m. Sunday, said China’s official Xinhua News Agency, citing the government’s seismological bureau.
The U.S. Geological Survey measured the quake’s magnitude at 6.2.
The dead included a 4-year-old boy who was sleeping with his mother when the mud walls of their home collapsed, burying them, Xinhua said. The mother was later rescued.
Xinhua, citing a provincial civil affairs spokesman, said 120,000 people had been forced to leave their homes.
About 20,000 to 30,000 of them were living in tents, some marked “disaster relief,” because the earthquake cracked walls in many buildings and made them unsafe to enter.
Another official from the seismological bureau, who identified himself by his surname, Ye, said others were living without shelter because of a shortage of tents. He said more tents were being sent from other areas.