On Sunday, December 16, a 5.7-magnitude earthquake rattled Xingwen county (Sichuan province), injuring 17 people, damaging 6000 homes and buildings, and prompting authorities to evacuate hundreds of others from the affected area. The quake struck at a depth of 12 km (7.5 mi) and was felt in Yibin, Chengdu, and Chongqing. Dozens of aftershocks have been recorded as of Monday, December 17.
Sichuan province is highly exposed to seismic risk and earthquakes of varying intensities are common. In May 2008, a powerful, 8.0-magnitude earthquake struck 80 km (50 mi) northwest of Chengdu, the provincial capital, killing 69,000 people and causing considerable material damage.
Individuals in affected areas are advised to adhere to any instructions or advice issued by the local authorities and anticipate aftershocks. In the event of an earthquake, take shelter under a table or crouched in a corner (away from exterior walls) if indoors and protect your head with your arms. If outdoors, move away from buildings and other tall structures; if driving, pull over as soon as it is safe to do so, away from tall structures. If caught under debris following an earthquake, keep all movements to a minimum and cover your mouth to avoid inhaling dust. After a major earthquake, check buildings for damage, including downed power lines or damaged gas lines, and evacuate until the building is declared safe. Only use your telephone in case of an emergency so as to leave telecommunications lines open for emergency services.
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