China: Prized mountain valley damaged in deadly quake

Arrow Bamboo Lake among mountains in the Jiuzhaigou nature reserve. Source: Shutterstock

A STRONG 7.0-magnitude quake that jolted China’s southwestern province of Jiuzhaigou has left scars on the region’s tourist-heavy network of mountain valleys. Jiuzhaigou is also recognized as a Unesco World Heritage Site. 

The quake on Aug 9 killed 19 people, including eight tourists, and injured 247.

An AFP report revealed the quake caused massive landslides that brought down swathes of land into the clear river water at the foot of the valley, causing the water to turn brown and clumped with dirt.

Jiuzhaigou Valley is recognized by Unesco as a World Heritage Site. Source: Shutterstock

Sparkling Lake – a popular location with distinctly turquoise waters – appeared to be dry in sections because strips of land between the lake had collapsed during the quake. The park issued a statement that confirmed the area was “severely damaged”.

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The AFP report said pristine tourist destinations such as Jiuzhaigou were scarce in the Republic given the rapid urban development that has contributed to increasing modern infrastructure and severe pollution.

According to Reuters, the Sichuan government said rescuers were gradually evacuating tourists and residents who had been cut off by landslides. Authorities said there were close to 30,000 visitors at the park when the quake hit, most of whom were evacuated.