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HomeNewsGansu earthquake: Specialists approaching finish of salvages as more than 130 killed

Gansu earthquake: Specialists approaching finish of salvages as more than 130 killed

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Rescue operations in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in Gansu province are nearing conclusion, with authorities reporting more than 130 casualties. The 6.2 magnitude quake struck on Monday night, affecting the mountainous region and leaving nearly 1,000 individuals injured. Amid sub-zero temperatures, rescue teams, comprising thousands of workers, have been battling challenging conditions to locate survivors and provide assistance.

Chinese officials announced on Wednesday that the focus is shifting from rescue efforts to treating the injured and aiding those who have lost their homes. Temperatures plummeted to -13°C (8.7°F) on Tuesday, exacerbating the already harsh conditions. Large parts of northern China are experiencing a cold snap, with numerous cities recording historically low temperatures.

In the worst-hit Jishishan county, part of Gansu province, local authorities revealed that over 5,000 buildings in the area suffered damage. Mudslides triggered by the earthquake also impacted many structures, and landslides damaged roads across the province. Images from the affected region depict entire villages split by the quake, along with collapsed buildings and houses.

Survivors described the tremors as akin to “being tossed by surging waves” and recounted harrowing experiences of evacuating their homes. One resident named Mr. Qin shared the urgency of waking his family and descending all 16 floors in one breath to escape the danger.

This earthquake is documented as China’s deadliest since 2014, when over 600 people lost their lives in a quake in southwestern Yunnan province. President Xi Jinping has mobilized significant resources, deploying thousands of firefighters, soldiers, policemen, and medical personnel to the region, acknowledging its status as one of China’s poorest and most ethnically diverse areas.

The quake’s epicenter was in the Linxia Hui Autonomous Prefecture, home to various Chinese Muslim groups. Chinese authorities reported a magnitude of 6.2 on the Richter scale, while the US Geological Survey recorded 5.9 with a depth of 10km (6 miles). Numerous aftershocks followed the initial quake, and officials cautioned about potential tremors exceeding a magnitude of 5.0 in the coming days.

Facing the severe cold and challenging conditions, Wang Yi, chief commander of the Blue Sky Rescue Team, the largest non-governmental humanitarian organization in China, expressed concerns about escalating casualties. President Xi emphasized the importance of exhaustive search and rescue efforts, timely medical treatment for the injured, and minimizing further casualties.

China, situated in a region where multiple tectonic plates converge, remains susceptible to earthquakes. The recent tragedy in Gansu adds to the historical seismic challenges faced by the country, with devastating earthquakes occurring in various provinces over the years.

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