Breaking News


Midnight earthquake claims 111 lives in Northwest China

Jishishan, December 18, 2023, The Europe Today: The 6.2-magnitude earthquake that jolted an ethnic county in northwest China’s Gansu Province midnight Monday has killed 111 people in Gansu and neighboring Qinghai Province, according to local earthquake relief headquarters, reported by Chinese state media.

According to China Earthquake Networks Center, the quake jolted at 11:59 p.m. Monday and has a focal depth of 10 km. The epicenter Liugou Township is about 8 km from the county seat of Jishishan Bao’an, Dongxiang, Salar Autonomous County in Linxia Hui Autonomous Prefecture, Gansu.

The earthquake was also felt strongly in the cities of Xining and Haidong in Qinghai, where some houses collapsed and cracked.

Xinhua reporters at the scene saw rescue vehicles and ambulances hurrying to the quake-hit areas in Gansu.

Ding Xiaolong, a resident of Chenjia Village, was asleep at home when the quake struck. The strong tremor woke him up, and he quickly rushed out of the house.

Ma Shijun, a student at Dahejia Middle School, ran out of the dormitory barefoot and without even putting on a coat. The strong tremors left his hands a bit numb. He said after the quake, teachers promptly organized students to seek refuge on the playground.

“Watching more and more rescue personnel, I’m not as frightened as I was when the quake first occurred,” said Ma.

The provincial fire and rescue department has sent 580 rescuers aided with 88 fire engines, 12 search and rescue dogs, more than 10,000 sets of equipment to the disaster area.

The railway authority has suspended passenger and cargo trains passing through the quake zone and ordered a safety check of railway tracks.

Hu Changsheng, Party chief of Gansu, and Ren Zhenhe, governor of Gansu, have rushed to the disaster area to command rescue and relief.

In the Dahejia Township where the temperature dropped to 16 degrees Celcius below zero at dawn, more than 140 medical staff at a local hospital were busy taking care of the injured people, some of whom also have loved ones out of contact in the quake.

“All our seven houses collapsed,” said Shi Lizhen with the hospital of integrated traditional Chinese and Western medicine in Jishishan. While wiping off her tears, she put several bottles of saline solution into the quilt to defreeze.

Ma Yuanjun, head of the hospital, told Xinhua that cracks were found on the hospital building walls. They lost no time to get the medical supplies out of the warehouse and set up makeshift beds by the road to treat the injured.

“Life is paramount,” he said. “There is hope so long as people are alive.”