China’s Gansu earthquake kills 118 people: What to know

China’s Gansu earthquake kills 118 people: What to know

A strong magnitude 6.2 earthquake struck China’s remote Gansu province at midnight on Monday, killing at least 118 and injuring more than 500 people.

Relief and rescue teams have been having challenges as roads and public infrastructures have been damaged, with such subzero temperatures further adding to the problem.

When did the quake hit and where?

At 23:59pm (15:59 GMT) on Monday, the earthquake hit Jishishan in the northwestern Gansu province, leading people to rush out of their homes out in the cold weather. Initial shocks lasted around 20 seconds.

Its tremors were felt as far away as 570km (354 miles) in Xi’an, northern Shaanxi province, while casualties also happened in Haidong city of neighbouring Qinghai province, some 115km (71 miles) away.

The centre of the quake Jishishan County and neighbouring places are still reeling from the aftereffects of the quake.
Emergency teams worked through the night to rescue people from the rubble but their efforts were hampered by several aftershocks, Al Jazeera reporter Katrina Yu, reporting from Beijing, said.
Nearly 5,000 houses have been damaged to “varying degrees” while power and water sources were also disrupted in some villages, according to state media.
The magnitude of the quake was 5.9 according to the United States Geological Survey, while the the European Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) said it was 6.1. But Chinese officials put it at 6.2. It happened at a depth of 35km (22 miles).
What do we know about the area hit by the earthquake?
The earthquake hit the mountainous border region between Gansu and Qinghai provinces, which lies on the east of the Qinghai-Tibetan plateau, a tectonically active area, making earthquakes typical in the region.

Gansu has a population of about 26 million and in 2022, it came 27th out of 31 Chinese provinces and municipalities in terms of GDP size.

The rural Jishishan is almost 90km (56 miles) southwest of Gansu’s city, Lanzhou.

What do we know about deaths so far?

A total of 105 people were reported dead and 397 injured in Jishishan in Gansu province, according to local authorities.

An additional 13 people died in Haidong City, about 100km (68 miles) northwest of Jishishan in the nearby Qinghai province. More than 180 people were hurt and 20 missing remain, according to state broadcaster CCTV.

Is Gansu safe now? What is the latest on rescue operations?
Rescue efforts are still under way and people have been warned against going to affected areas to prevent traffic jams.

Subzero temperatures and roads that are either damaged by the quake or inundated with snow have made it tough to carry out rescue operations. Overnight temperature on Tuesday dropped to as low as -13 degrees Celsius (8.7 degrees Fahrenheit), according to the China Meteorological Administration.

The quake has also wrecked infrastructure and triggered landslides in the mountainous area.

People in affected areas have been given vital supplies such as drinking water, blankets, tents, stoves and instant noodles.

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