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Rescue Work Continues after Latest 5.9-Richter-scale Quake

Rescue work resumed in the quake-hit areas in Sichuan after a moderate aftershock,measuring 5.9 on the Richter scale, jolted Lixian County of the Province at around 1:25 PM on Friday and affected its neighboring places, according to Xinhua reporters at the scene.

The magnitude 5.9 quake lasted about ten seconds and reporters saw rocks sliding from nearby mountains.

The military continued the disaster-relief work shortly after the recent tremor, and people were calm, says Xinhua reporter Huang Shubo.

Another reporter Xu Zhuangzhi, who arrived in Maoxian County, north of the epicenter, at about 11:30 AM Friday with a military rescue brigade, said the conditions there were "better than expected".

About 20 percent of the buildings had collapsed or were severely damaged and disaster relief work in the county was running smoothly, he said. A total of 2,150 troops and armed police were in the county, he said.

There were only two telephones for telecommunication service, one was used for local people and tourists to contact their family, and more than 1,000 people were queuing up for the service, including some foreign tourists, he said.

Maoxian County, a town dozens of kilometers north of the epicenter, connects the renowned tourist attraction Jiuzhaigou to provincial capital Chengdu.

About 6,500 tourists were left stranded in the county including visitors from the United States and Malaysia. More than 4,300 tourists have been transferred to safe places so far, according to Xinhua reporters.

(Xinhua News Agency May 16, 2008)

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