Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Over 100 Dead After Massive Earthquake Strikes China Overnight

HomeTop NewsOver 100 Dead After Massive Earthquake Strikes China Overnight

A powerful 6.2 magnitude earthquake struck a mountainous region of northwestern China late Monday night, killing at least 118 people and injuring over 500 others in the provinces of Gansu and Qinghai. Rescue crews worked through the frigid night, pulling survivors from the rubble even as aftershocks continued to shake the region.

The epicenter of the quake was located approximately 100 kilometers (60 miles) southwest of Lanzhou, the capital of Gansu province, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS). It struck just before midnight local time at a shallow depth of 10 kilometers (6 miles), causing significant shaking felt by millions of residents in the region.

Footage emerging from the scene shows rescuers working by flashlight to extract residents trapped under collapsed homes in the rural, mountainous area. Temperatures reportedly dropped below -10 degrees Celsius (14 degrees Fahrenheit) overnight, compounding the challenges.

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I was at the epicenter of the earthquake, and my mother and I couldn’t run away,” one Gansu resident told The Guardian. “The house was shaking so much that I couldn’t even stand up, and things were falling down. It was very cold outside at more than ten degrees below zero. I didn’t go back all night and there were constant aftershocks.”

Chinese President Xi Jinping called for an all-out rescue effort, with over 3,000 firefighters actively taking part or on standby. Hundreds of military personnel have already reached the affected counties to assist, working to clear debris and set up tents to house those displaced.

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But damaged roads and power outages are hampering access to some of the worst-hit areas. Communication networks have also been severely disrupted, making it difficult to assess the full extent of the damage. Officials warned the death toll could still rise substantially as more reports come in from remote villages.

Earthquakes are common in northwestern China, which borders the eastern edge of the Tibetan Plateau – the imposing upland region formed by the collision of tectonic plates. Friction between the plates continues to cause sporadic seismic events.

One of the deadliest quakes on record hit Sichuan province, west of Gansu, in 2008. The massive 7.9 magnitude tremor left nearly 90,000 people dead or missing across towns and rural mountain settlements around the city of Chengdu. The disaster spurred major rebuilding efforts using more earthquake-resistant materials.

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This week’s shallow quake is the strongest to hit Gansu province since 2017. In addition to the heavy toll on human life, it has caused significant property damage. With harsh winter conditions hampering access, emergency personnel face a race against time to rescue those still trapped and provide aid to survivors left homeless.

China’s Cabinet called for full efforts in rescue and treatment of victims “with casualties to be kept to a minimum,” according to state media. Meanwhile, experts advise residents in the surrounding area to be prepared for potentially dangerous aftershocks in the coming days and weeks as the region adjusts to the disruption from the main quake.

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Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee is a prolific author who provides commentary and analysis on business, finance, politics, sports, and current events on his website Opportuneist. With over a decade of experience in journalism and blogging, Mezhar aims to deliver well-researched insights and thought-provoking perspectives on important local and global issues in society.

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