Deadliest earthquake to hit China in years kills 120+

 December 19, 2023

A massive earthquake in a remote area of China has killed more than 120 people and injured hundreds more. 

Rescue teams are racing to find survivors in the freezing plateaus of Gansu, a barren, sparsely populated region of northwestern China.

The quake - which destroyed thousands of homes, triggered landslides and knocked out power across the region - is the deadliest to hit China in years.

The magnitude was recorded as 6.2 on the Richter scale, with a series of aftershocks.

China rocked by quake

The quake struck after midnight on Monday, forcing survivors to seek warmth in makeshift shelters.

The temperature in Gansu was recorded as 8.7 degrees Fahrenheit on Tuesday.

"I woke my family up and we rushed down all 16 floors in one breath," said one man named Mr Qin by Chinese outlets.

The quake had a shallow depth of 6 miles, and easily ripped through the clay buildings in the impoverished area. It was felt in the provincial capital, Lanzhou, about 60 miles away from the epicenter.

The mountainous rural province, which borders Mongolia, is known for its poverty and its harsh geography.

Earthquakes have been a common occurrence in the region - a massive earthquake originating in Gansu in 1920 killed 260,000, making it one of the worst disasters in China's history.

Xi responds

Chinese dictator Xi Jinping dispatched thousands of rescue workers to the area, which is located far away from coastal population centers like Beijing,

He said that "all efforts should be made to carry out search and rescue, treat the injured in a timely manner, and minimize casualties."

The deadliest earthquake in China's recent history struck the southwestern Sichuan province, killing 87,000.

Wang Yi, chief commander of the Blue Sky Rescue Team, told the BBC that the death toll in Gansu will rise, but "not much" because the buildings in the area are small.

"It is too cold to bear... it's -15C [here]," he said. "We now need to dig deeper [into the rubble]. But there are no big buildings in the area. So it will rise, but it won't be much," he said.

Russian leader Vladimir Putin, a friend of Xi, sent his condolences.

"In Russia, we share the pain of those who lost their loved ones in the disaster and hope for a speedy recovery for all those injured," he said.

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