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June 24, 2024

Over 100 Killed After Powerful 6.2 Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Northwest China

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Dec 19, 2023

A powerful 6.2 magnitude earthquake struck northwestern China late Monday night, killing over 100 people and injuring hundreds more. The quake hit Sichuan province, with the epicenter located in the rural county of Haidong, Qinghai province.

Massive Damage And Destruction Reported

The earthquake has caused massive damage and destruction in the mountainous region. Entire buildings have collapsed, roads are destroyed, and communication and power lines are down.

“The shakes were extremely strong. Some houses did not collapse right after the quake, but became dangerous later. Some households have not evacuated from their homes but are planning to sleep on the streets tonight,” said a resident of Xidatan Township, which is around 40 kilometers from the epicenter. (Al Jazeera)

With frigid winter temperatures dipping below freezing at night, rescuers are racing against time to pull any remaining survivors from the rubble. However, their efforts are being hampered by damaged roads limiting access to the remote disaster area.

Rescue Efforts Underway But Challenging

A massive rescue operation is underway, with over 4,500 rescuers and emergency responders, including both professionals and volunteers, deployed to the quake zone. However, the scale of the disaster coupled with the remote location and freezing temperatures is severely challenging rescue and recovery efforts.

“The area impacted by the earthquake is mainly in mountains and has very complicated terrain. The transportation is very inconvenient. The electricity and communication are interrupted in most areas,” said Shi Yusheng, deputy county chief from Haidong. (Xinhua)

The central government has called for an “all-out” rescue effort, with emergency responders coming from neighboring provinces to assist. The military has been deployed, and several planes are en route with rescue personnel and supplies.

Death Toll Continues To Rise

The death toll from the devastating quake continues to rise as more bodies are pulled from the wreckage. As of Tuesday morning, state media has confirmed at least 118 fatalities. However, that number is expected to climb much higher as the remote villages cut off by landslides and collapsed roads are reached. Over 200 people have been hospitalized with injuries thus far.

Most of the deaths are concentrated in Ganza and Zhongwei counties in rural Qinghai province, located right near the epicenter. However, casualties have been reported in multiple nearby cities and counties in the wider region.

“Qinghai province has activated the highest level-I emergency response for the earthquake. Even a 6.0-magnitude earthquake could inflict significant damage and casualties,” stated Chen Shenyi, a research fellow with the Chinese Seismological Bureau. (CGTN)

Residents endured sub-zero temperatures overnight, with some huddling around small fires. With roads blocked, some villages still remain unreachable by rescue crews.

Widespread Infrastructure Damage

In addition to the human toll, the powerful earthquake has also caused significant damage to infrastructure in the region. Power, water, and telecommunications have been knocked out across many affected areas. Multiple highways and bridges have collapsed or sustained heavy damage.

“The earthquake was felt strongly, especially by communities closer to the epicenter,” stated Chen Jianmin, expert from China Earthquake Network Center. “As most houses in these regions are made from wood and bricks, they could have been easily damaged in the quake.” (CGTN)

With heavy snow also forecast for coming days, the race is on to restore infrastructure and evacuate residents before secondary disasters occur. The government has mobilized construction crews alongside emergency responders to start infrastructure repairs.

Ongoing Aftershocks Fuel Unease

Compounding the misery, affected residents continue to experience regular aftershocks following the initial massive quake. Well over 100 significant aftershocks have rattled the region, the largest recorded at magnitude 4.6 early Tuesday morning. These ongoing tremors are fueling unease and panic among local communities.

“The area impacted by the earthquake is large and the intensity strong. The series of aftershocks will last over a relatively long period,” stated专家 Zhu Guohong from CEA. (China Earthquake Administration)

The ongoing aftershocks continue to pose risks of collapse to already damaged buildings, concern for any residents who remain within unstable structures in the disaster zone.

Other Earthquake Prone Regions On Alert

While the remote Qinghai region bore the brunt of this quake, China remains uniquely vulnerable to seismic events across multiple provinces. Monday’s disaster has sparked unease in other earthquake-prone parts of central and Western China.

Other regions impacted by historic quakes, like Sichuan province and Yunnan, have been placed on alert for potential aftershocks and triggered landslides. Though centered in Qinghai, the earthquake sent tremors felt by millions of residents across multiple provinces overnight, emphasizing the massive scale.

“Southwest China is located at the eastern edge of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau uplift area, where the crust stress is continuously accumulating. Strong earthquakes occur frequently,” stated geophysicist Yang Xiaohui. (Global Times)

Relief Efforts Mounting

As the area reels from the devastating earthquake, relief efforts are mounting to provide urgent aid and assistance. The central government has allocated millions in funds for disaster relief, and multiple state-owned companies have pledged additional donations.

“Bydon Co Ltd, a Shenzhen-based automaker, has initiated a 10 million yuan ($1.45 million) earthquake relief fund for the affected areas,” reported Chinese state media.

Supplies of winter clothing, blankets, food, and water are all being transported into the area by road and air. However, damaged infrastructure poses challenges to distribute and allocate aid efficiently to those displaced by the quake.

With frigid winter setting in and temperatures plummeting after sunset, emergency shelter is the top priority for survivors. Rescuers have erected heated tents to provide temporary shelter as residents await further relief and the ability to return home.

Long Road To Recovery Ahead

While rescue efforts continue, the region is facing a long and difficult road to rebuild and recover. Government estimates project the recovery phase may take upwards of three years due to the extent of damage.

Cold winter weather poses substantial risks of additional loss of life if residents displaced by the earthquake cannot find adequate heated shelter. Once an initial needs assessment is complete, the focus will shift from rescue to recovery and rebuilding all that the quake has destroyed.

Table summarizing key details on the earthquake disaster:

Detail Description
Location Ganza county, Qinghai province, NW China
Magnitude 6.2
Depth 10 km
Date/Time December 18, 11:45 PM local time
Death toll 118+ (and rising)
Injuries Over 200 hospitalized currently
Damage level Severe – entire buildings collapsed
Power/infrastructure damage Telecommunications, electricity infrastructure damaged for most areas. Multiple roads and bridges collapsed.
Relief efforts Government has allocated millions in relief funds. Emergency supplies being transported to region.
Recovery time estimates Up to 3 years

The powerful earthquake has left a trail of destruction across NW China, taking many lives and destroying infrastructure. Relief efforts are underway but face challenges reaching remote disaster areas. With frigid winter setting in, rescue crews are in a race against time to pull survivors from the rubble and provide aid to those displaced by this catastrophic quake. While the nation mourns the rising death toll, the long road to rebuild and recovery has only just begun for these devastated communities.

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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