No buildings constructed after a powerful earthquake struck Sichuan Province in 2008 collapsed during last week's quake in the same province, which means they withstood a major test, an official said yesterday.
A 78-year-old man is pulled out alive from the debris on Wednesday in Baoxing County in Ya'an City, five days after an earthquake hit the area. The man is the first survivor after the "golden rescue time," or the immediate 72 hours after the quake, the local government said yesterday. He was found on a hill top at Muping Township. He is in stable condition despite rib fractures.
Poor designs and shoddy construction were blamed for the collapse of many schools during the Sichuan earthquake five years ago which left nearly 90,000 people dead or missing.
Central and local government officials had promised then not to cut corners in the reconstruction and to enforce higher safety codes.
An official from Sichuan government's Housing and Urban-Rural Development Department said yesterday the new construction had withstood last week's earthquake, which was smaller in magnitude and killed 196 people and left 21 people missing.
"We've noticed that some buildings cracked and some walls of the buildings collapsed," but this was "normal," Qiu Jia told a news conference.
"It's impossible for buildings to remain undamaged at all during major earthquakes."
But a preliminary survey showed that none of the buildings built after 2008, including schools and hospitals, collapsed, he said.
"This shows that the new projects have withstood the major earthquake test and provided safety to people," he said.
About 1,500 people are still hospitalized following the earthquake, according to figures provided by Zhao Miao, Sichuan's vice governor.
He said Saturday's earthquake affected more than 2 million people in more than 100 counties in 10 cities and caused "great economic losses and ecological damage."
The latest earthquake was measured at magnitude 7.0, capable of causing severe damage but was substantially smaller than the 2008 quake, which was measured at 8.0.
Meanwhile, local officials said no major epidemic or emergencies were reported from Lushan County. As of Wednesday, a total of 1.41 million square meters of land had been disinfected, and tropical freshwater snails had been destroyed in an area covering 120,000 sq meters to prevent snail fever, said Zhu Xiaoping, vice director of the center for disease control and prevention in Sichuan Province.
Zhu said that a total of 1,809 tons of rubbish have been cleared and 10,973 people have received psychological help.
"Local authorities have taken anti-epidemic measures including examining drinking water," Zhu said.
Some drinking water in the county has been tested and approved for drinking. However, there were places still left where water was unsafe to drink. Warning signs and guards have been posted to prevent people from drinking it.
Local health agencies will also accelerate disinfection of water sources and carry out daily monitoring.
Wang Huaqing, an official with the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said they were acting on reports that some people were struggling with digestive problems.