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Deadly Earthquake Strikes Northwest China, Over 100 Dead

Deadly Earthquake Strikes Northwest China, Over 100 Dead

State media reported on Tuesday that a seismic event in northwest China led to the collapse of buildings, resulting in the tragic loss of at least 116 lives. Rescue efforts were swiftly initiated in freezing conditions as workers endeavored to sift through the rubble.

In Gansu province, at least 105 individuals lost their lives, and nearly 400 sustained injuries, according to local officials. The powerful and shallow tremor struck around midnight, causing substantial damage to homes and prompting people to flee to the streets for safety.

In the neighboring province of Qinghai, the city of Haidong reported 11 fatalities and 100 injuries related to the earthquake.

Terrifying accounts emerged, with a woman in her thirties, featured in a video associated with the state-run People’s Daily newspaper, expressing her fear and recounting the earth giving way as she fled her home.

Rescue operations commenced early Tuesday, with Chinese President Xi Jinping urging “all-out efforts” in the search and relief work. The high-altitude area, where temperatures are below freezing, posed additional challenges, and precautions against secondary disasters were emphasized.

The earthquake, registered as magnitude 5.9 by the US Geological Survey, struck in Gansu near the Qinghai border. The epicenter was approximately 100 kilometers southwest of Lanzhou, the capital of Gansu province.

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Discrepancies in reported magnitudes ranged from 5.9 to 6.2, with several aftershocks and a warning of possible tremors exceeding 5.0 in the coming days.

Disruptions to power and water supplies were reported in villages around the epicenter, with footage illustrating residents seeking warmth by fires and emergency services establishing tents.

Over 1,400 firefighters and rescue personnel were deployed to the disaster zone, with additional supplies sent to aid the affected area.

Evacuations were underway in Gansu, and the earthquake, occurring at a shallow depth at 11:59 pm local time on Monday, prompted a revision of its magnitude from the initial report of 6.0 by the USGS.

While earthquakes are not uncommon in China, this recent event adds to a series of seismic incidents, with memories still fresh of the devastating quakes in Sichuan in September 2022 and in 2008, which left a significant toll on lives and infrastructure.