China’s deadliest earthquake in years leaves 127 dead in Gansu (video)

Photo courtesy of BBC News

Northwest China is reeling from the aftermath of a monstrous 6.2 magnitude earthquake that struck Gansu province, marking the country’s deadliest seismic event since 2014.

The toll stands at 127 lives lost, with fears that the numbers may surge as icy conditions and treacherous terrains impede rescue efforts.

As President Xi Jinping mobilises thousands of rescue crews to the impoverished and diverse region, harrowing scenes unfold on state TV and social media. Entire villages torn asunder, buildings reduced to rubble, and survivors battling sub-zero temperatures in hastily erected evacuation camps — all captured in shocking footage that grips the nation.

Survivors describe the tremors as akin to being tossed by surging waves, recalling desperate escapes from multi-storeyed buildings. A witness named Qin reported that he woke his family up and they rushed down 16 floors in one breath.

Jishishan county, the worst-hit in Gansu, bears the brunt with over 5,000 buildings damaged in the earthquake. A grim revelation emerges as the director of the Gansu rescue team attributes the widescale devastation to poor building quality, citing old clay homes as a contributing factor.

Gansu, sandwiched between the Tibetan and Loess plateaus, stands as one of China’s poorest and most ethnically diverse regions. The quake’s epicentre, Linxia Hui Autonomous Prefecture, houses various Chinese Muslim groups, adding complexity to the rescue mission, reported BBC News.

China’s meteorological authorities record a 6.2 magnitude quake, while the US Geological Survey suggests 5.9 with a depth of 10km. Amid the chaos, Xinjiang, west of Gansu, reports a 5.5 magnitude quake, intensifying the region’s ordeal.

With power and water supplies disrupted across the region, rescue efforts face significant hindrances. Wang Yi, chief commander of the Blue Sky Rescue Team, China’s largest humanitarian organisation, laments the challenges in the sub-zero conditions, predicting a rise in casualties.

President Xi Jinping urges an all-out effort to carry out search and rescue missions, treat the injured promptly, and minimize further casualties. As China, nestled among tectonic plates, remains susceptible to earthquakes, the nation confronts a somber reality reminiscent of past seismic tragedies.

China NewsThailand News

Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Originally from Hong Kong, Puntid moved to Bangkok in 2020 to pursue further studies in translation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. Puntid spent 8 years living in Manchester, UK. Before joining The Thaiger, Puntid has been a freelance translator for 2 years. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and listening to music, as well as writing short fiction and poetry.

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