The death toll on the 5.6 magnitude earthquakes in southwestern China have reached 80 so far, and has rescuers in the region searching remote regions to see if there are more people in need.
The China earthquakes damaged tens of thousands of buildings and struck back to back. The epicenter of the quake was the Yunnan Province in Yiliang County. Huge rocks covered the roadways, cars were abandoned, and buildings caught fire.
Late Friday, rescuers had been able to get to around 90 percent of the counties that were hit by the China quake. In Zhaotong City, 740,000 people were affected by the disaster. Experts are totaling the losses so far at about $552 million in US dollars. Some of the regions that aren't as developed as others have structures that were not built to withstand quakes. While China has come a long way from straw huts and rice fields, officials should be looking into these structures and rebuilding if necessary.
The quakes hit back to back at about 0319 GMT and 0404 GMT and were about six miles from the surface. This is actually fairly shallow for an earthquake, with many quakes miles and miles below the surface. In 2008, almost 90,000 people died as a result of a 7.8 quake, mostly from buildings like schools and homes that had not been built to earthquake preparedness standards. It is very disturbing that even schools lacked the fundamental building reinforcement from a disaster like the China earthquake--schools where thousands of children presumably attended.