At Least 118 Killed, 500 Injured After Massive Overnight Earthquake in China

Earthquakes occur periodically in western China, particularly along the eastern fringes of the Tibetan plateau.

2 min read
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An overnight earthquake in northwestern China reportedly killed at least 118 people on Tuesday, 19 December, with search operations underway in the Gansu and Qinghai provinces.

AP reported that the 6.2 earthquake struck Gansu just before midnight on Monday, 18 December, and left over 500 people injured and severely damaged property and roads and destroyed power and communication channels.

According to reports, rescue personnel were deployed to the area following the earthquake and provincial leaders were also on their way to the site of the incident.

The seismic event, as per the USGS, took place approximately 100 kilometers southwest of Lanzhou, the capital of Gansu province, and was succeeded by multiple smaller aftershocks.

Chinese President Xi Jinping urged for a comprehensive search and rescue operation with over 3,000 firefighters actively involved or on standby, while hundreds of military personnel have already been dispatched to the affected region.

Footage from the scene showed rescuers working by torchlight, helping people out of collapsed houses.


A Gansu resident was quoted by The Guardian, who said:

“I was at the epicentre of the earthquake, and my mother and I couldn’t run away. 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.”

Earthquakes occur periodically in the mountainous western regions of China, particularly along the eastern fringes of the Tibetan plateau. In August, a shallow 5.4-magnitude earthquake hit eastern China, resulting in 23 injuries and the collapse of numerous buildings.

One of China's most devastating recent earthquakes was a 7.9 magnitude quake in 2008, claiming the lives of almost 90,000 individuals in Sichuan. The tremor caused extensive destruction to towns, schools, and rural areas around Chengdu, prompting a long-term reconstruction initiative focused on using more resilient materials.

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Topics:  China    Earthquake 

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