A heartbreaking event unfolded in northwest China as a 5.9 magnitude earthquake struck Gansu province, claiming 111 lives and leaving over 200 injured. The tremor, which hit on Monday night, caused significant damage to buildings in Gansu and neighboring Qinghai province.
Reports varied on the earthquake’s magnitude, with the US Geological Survey recording 5.9 on the Richter scale, while Chinese authorities stated 6.2. Emergency workers faced harsh conditions, battling freezing temperatures as low as minus 13 degrees Celsius to aid residents in this rural, impoverished region.
Government rescue teams, totaling 2,220 personnel, including military and police, rushed to the affected area. Power and water supply were disrupted, intensifying the challenges. Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for a full rescue effort, emphasizing swift search and rescue operations, timely medical care, and minimizing casualties.
National Emergency Declared
China’s national commission for disaster prevention, reduction, and relief, along with the Ministry of Emergency Management, activated a level-IV disaster relief emergency. The Gansu province, historically prone to seismic activity, holds a tragic past with one of the deadliest earthquakes in the 1920s.
Situated between the Tibetan and Loess plateaus, China faces frequent seismic threats due to its location where various tectonic plates converge—particularly the Eurasian, Indian, and Pacific plates. The epicenter, in the Linxia Hui Autonomous Prefecture, adds complexity to the situation, being an administrative region for China’s Muslim Hui people.
As the nation grapples with this disaster, our hearts go out to the affected families, and efforts continue to provide aid and support in the aftermath of this tragic earthquake.