• Short Summary

    The earthquake warnings in Peking, the capital of the People's Republic of China, put six million people into the streets and open spaces of the city after the massive 'quake which divested Tangshen, a hundred miles (160 kilometres) to the east.

  • Description

    The earthquake warnings in Peking, the capital of the People's Republic of China, put six million people into the streets and open spaces of the city after the massive 'quake which divested Tangshen, a hundred miles (160 kilometres) to the east.

    SYNOPSIS: Minor tremors hit Peking, bringing down some stone walls, shortly after the world's biggest earthquake for 12 years almost destroyed Tangshen, a city of one and a half million people, last Wednesday (28 July). In the next few days 15 more major 'quakes and another 110 smaller ones hit Tangshen -- the epicentres moving closer to Peking each time. Chinese authorities ordered the population of Peking to live outdoors, and away from anything which could fall down in the predicted earthquake. The population obeyed and moved outside into the hot, humid days. and even hotter nights occasionally drenched by torrential thunderstorms. Security was stepped up to prevent a breakdown of law and order, but according to an amateur cameraman's eight millimetre film everything seemed orderly and peaceful.

    Foreign diplomatic staff were also advised to move into the grounds and compounds surrounding their embassies. Those that stayed to man the missions did so, but most of the embassies' wives and children were evacuated to either Hong Kong or Tokyo, Japan. At the British Embassy, skeleton staff burnt classified documents and packed motor cars in readiness for an emergency road evacuation, meanwhile living on the tennis court. A small caretaker group remained to staff the West German Embassy, and only 18 were left at the Canadian mission after all women and children and most of the male staff left for Hong Kong. Thirty five men remained to look after the Japanese Embassy. The Soviet Embassy moved its residents outside, but did not immediately evacuate any like the others. Among the evacuees lining up at Peking Airport were some of the 100 foreign students who had remained in the capital after annual holidays had begun. Most of them were Third World students. Those that remained were sleeping and eating out of doors near Peking University and the Institute of Foreign Languages.

    A large number of foreign evacuees, including all the Japanese Embassy staff, Flew directly to Tokyo where government officials and foreign embassies laid on contingency plans to cater for them and, in some cases, fly them on home. Meanwhile, as Chinese officials organised themselves to cope with the massive movements of manpower and reconstruction, they reported on Monday (2 August) that the death toll in tangshen was not as high as the original foreign estimates of hundred thousand.

    They also dismissed foreign reports that 15,000 coal-miners in the area had been entombed -- saying that most of them escaped unharmed. However, they were continuing to expect a major 'qua??? to hit Peking -- and mst of the city's foreign residents seem to have taken the evacuation advice seriously.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVA31HJ4M9Y8JE305KIIRILC2TN9
    Media URN:
    VLVA31HJ4M9Y8JE305KIIRILC2TN9
    Group:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    02/08/1976
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Colour
    Duration:
    00:02:28:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

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