Quake doesn't halt New Year festivities

Updated 2017-11-20 10:32:12 China Daily

Residents of Nyingchi, in the Tibet autonomous region, celebrated Gompo New Year with festival activities on Sunday despite having been hit by a magnitude 6.9 earthquake the day before.

Three people sustained minor injuries when the earthquake struck the city's Manling county at 6:34 am on Saturday. No casualties were reported.

The quake occurred at a depth of about 10 km and its epicenter was in a remote area in Yarlung Tsangpo Canyon, according to the China Earthquake Networks Center.

The quake was felt strongly in several counties in Nyingchi and caused temporary power failures in some areas, as well as leaving cracks on 1,453 houses, mostly in Manling. Some people were moved into disaster relief tents while authorities assessed the safety of houses after the quake, the Nyingchi government said on Saturday night.

Wu Yingjie, Party chief of Tibet, passed on President Xi Jinping's regards to those who are affected and disaster relief workers via a video conference on Saturday. More than 4,473 people from different departments have been involved in disaster relief work so far.

Basang Cering, Party chief in the village of Zhaxigang, Lunang township, told Xinhua News Agency that he could not stand still in his house when the quake struck. Six houses in village were damaged by the jolt.

The tremors also triggered falling rocks, temporary blocking a highway linking Nyingchi with Tangmai, one of the townships struck by the quake. The road had already been cleared by People's Armed Police troops by Saturday.

The China Seismological Bureau launched a third-degree emergency response and monitored an investigation of the situation in a teleconference. A team of 32 experts were dispatched to the quake zone.

The Ministry of Transport also sent investigators to check the safety of bridges in the quake zone.

But, not to be deterred, residents of Nyingchi celebrated New Year as usual by setting off firecrackers and dancing in traditional costume on Sunday. Gompo New Year, which originated in the Gompo Tibetan region, falls on the first day of the tenth month of the Tibetan Calendar.

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