At least six persons were killed and nearly 1,000 injured in a powerful aftershock that rattled quake-battered areas in China, affecting relief work and piling on the miseries for lakhs of weary survivors.
About 2.7 lakh houses that survived the May 12 quake were flattened or severely damaged yesterday by the 6.4 magnitude aftershock, the most powerful recorded in the two weeks after the disaster that has claimed 62,664 lives so far.
Local government sources said that four people who were working in a paddy field were killed yesterday in Xixiang county of northwestern Shaanxi province.
In Qingchuan county of the worst-affected Sichuan province, one person was killed and while another died in a landslide in Longnan city in northwest Gansu province, official Xinhua news agency said.
The aftershock led to panic among the quake-weary people and was felt even in some other parts of the country. Faced with a flood threat from "quake lakes", policemen reached a giant lake at Tangjiashan in Sichuan province to blast away the landslide barrier before it could burst and submerge vast areas.
The armed policemen were among about 1,800 troops and armed police officers each carrying 10kg of dynamite who set off on foot yesterday towards the expanding lake, upstream of the Beichuan county, from where thousands of people have been evacuated since Wednesday.
Barrier or quake lakes formed by rivers blocked by landslides and mudflows unleashed by the quake continued to pose the risk of floods.