Over 110 dead in northwest China earthquake
Published: 19 December 2023, 12:04:43
At least 111 people were killed when an earthquake collapsed buildings in northwest China, state media reported Tuesday, as rescue workers raced to start digging through rubble.
About 100 were killed and scores more injured in Gansu province after the strong, shallow tremor struck, state broadcaster CCTV said, citing the provincial earthquake relief headquarters.
According to CCTV, 11 others were killed and 100 injured in the city of Haidong in the neighbouring province of Qinghai.
The quake caused significant damage, including collapsed houses, and sent people running into the street for safety, state news agency Xinhua said.
Rescue work was under way early Tuesday, with Chinese President Xi Jinping calling for “all-out efforts” in the search and relief work as well as ensuring the safety of the survivors and their property.
The quake, which was logged as magnitude 5.9 by the US Geological Survey, struck in Gansu near the border with Qinghai, where Haidong is located.
That epicentre is about 100 kilometres (60 miles) southwest of Gansu province’s capital, Lanzhou. Several smaller aftershocks followed the initial earthquake.
Xinhua reported the quake — which was felt in Xi’an in northern Shaanxi province, some 570 kilometres (350 miles) away — as magnitude 6.2.
– Freezing temperatures –
Power and water supplies were disrupted in some local villages, Xinhua said.
CCTV showed images of emergency vehicles driving towards the scene with their lights flashing along snow-lined highways.
Rescue workers dressed in overalls were pictured shoulder-to-shoulder in the trucks, while other images showed them lining up in ranks to receive instructions.
Other clips showed emergency personnel going through debris by torchlight, unfolding orange stretchers for the casualties.
Temperatures have plunged to well below freezing across northern China, and footage from one of the worst-hit areas on CCTV showed residents warming themselves by a fire while emergency services set up tents.
Fallen ceilings and other debris could be seen in videos posted on social media.
The earthquake struck at a depth of 10 kilometres (six miles) at 11:59 pm local time Monday (1559 GMT), according to the USGS, which revised the magnitude downward after initially reporting 6.0.
Officials launched an emergency response and dispatched rescue personnel to the area just after the quake and provincial leaders were also en route, Xinhua reported.
Earthquakes are not uncommon in China. In August, a shallow 5.4-magnitude earthquake struck eastern China, injuring 23 people and collapsing dozens of buildings.
In September 2022, a 6.6-magnitude quake hit Sichuan province leaving almost 100 dead.
A 7.9-magnitude quake in 2008 left more than 87,000 people dead or missing, including 5,335 school pupils.