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6.2-quake in China kills 127 – Times of India


BEIJING: A magnitude-6.2 earthquake struck one of China’s poorest regions just before midnight on Monday, killing at least 127 people, injuring more than 700 people and bringing down mud houses in remote villages that never stood a chance. Chinese state media arriving at the sixth commune of Dahe village, one of the worst-hit areas in China’s northwestern Gansu province, found many houses were either at risk of collapse, or had already crumbled to the ground, especially homes built from earth and clay.
“I’ve lived for more than 80 years and had never seen such a big earthquake,” said an old man who was being carried out of his damaged home by rescuers.
More than 155,000 homes in Gansu were either damaged or destroyed. At 11.59pm local time) on Monday, the quake rocked Gansu’s Jishishan county, at a depth of 10 km. The epicentre was 5 km from the provincial border straddling Gansu and Qinghai, where strong tremors were also felt.
Authorities have mobilised an array of emergency responses after the quake wrecked roads and infrastructure, triggered landslides, and half buried a village in silt. But rescue work has proved challenging in sub-zero temperatures, after a powerful cold snap swept across the country.
China’s deadliest quake in recent decades was in 2008 when one of magnitude-8.0 struck Sichuan, killing nearly 70,000 people.
In Gansu, 113 were killed as of 1 pm on Tuesday, and 536 injured, authorities said. Gansu is among the poorest provinces in China. The death tally in Qinghai stood at 14 with 198 injured, as of 4.50pm. Officially, 20 people remained missing.
About 2,200 personnel from the Gansu provincial fire department and 900 from the forest brigade, as well as 260 professional emergency rescue workers, were dispatched to the disaster zone, Xinhua news agency reported, adding hundreds from the military and police were also deployed.
As the disaster area is in a high-altitude region where the weather is cold, rescue efforts are working to prevent secondary disasters caused by factors beyond the quake, Xinhua said. The temperature in Linxia, Gansu, near where the quake occurred, was about minus 14Celsius on Tuesday.
Although the 72 hours after a quake are the most likely time to rescue survivors, that will be shortened by the harsh weather, with trapped victims facing higher risk, it said. Some water, electricity, transportation, communications and other infrastructure have been damaged. Dozens of highways and rural roads were damaged amid multiple landslides, no casualties were reported. Woken up by the quake, residents left their buildings and drove to open areas, local media Jimu reported.


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