Chinese Quake Devastates Tea Center

Chinese Quake

Ya’an City

The Magnitude 6.6 quake that struck Southwest China Saturday crushed tea factories in Ya’an City in Sichuan province, a hub of Chinese tea production.

The city of has a population of 1.5 million people.

The region annually produces 66,000 metric tons of green tea (about 14 percent of China’s annual production) and was preparing the spring harvest. Five years ago the less intense Wenchuan quake crushed 100 tea factories, flattened much of the city and damaged 6,667 hectares (16,500 acres) of tea farms.

In 2008, a Magnitude 7.9 quake killed 70,000 in the region and in 2010 a 7.1 quake killed 2,700.

Residents are reporting landslides in the gardens, collapsed structures, bridges lost and roadways blocked. The last quake caused $625,000 damage in Ya’an, China’s gateway to Tibet.

Rescue teams from Ghizhou and the Red Cross are at the scene with Americans already donating $1.13 million to recovery efforts. Lushan is the hardest hit with at least 25 confirmed dead, and 2,500 injured with 20 missing, according to People’s Daily. Rescuers saved 91 trapped under rubble.

The preliminary death toll is 207 killed with 11,500 injured but these numbers are expected to rise as rescuers reach remote villages.

Sources: People’s Daily, Insurance JournalReuters

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