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China Hit By The Deadliest Earthquake In 13 Years


At least 118 people in north-west China have lost their lives in the country’s deadliest earthquake in 13 years. The 6.2 magnitude quake struck the mountainous Gansu province around midnight on Monday, also affecting the neighboring Qinghai province. The aftermath has left hundreds injured, and the fatalities might rise as rescue operations are underway in the icy conditions.

President Xi Jinping Deploys Thousands for Gansu Earthquake Response

Chinese President Xi Jinping has taken swift action, ordering thousands of rescue crews to the region. Gansu province, among the poorest and most diverse in China, faces a daunting challenge in dealing with the aftermath of this natural disaster.

200 Million Yuan Allocated for Earthquake Relief

Chinese President Xi Jinping has specifically called for comprehensive search and rescue operations, the effective resettlement of those affected, and maximal endeavors to safeguard the lives and property of the people. A sum of 200 million yuan has been earmarked for assistance, with Jinping directing officials to exert all possible efforts in delivering aid and relief.

Devastating Scenes

On Tuesday, harrowing footage aired on state TV and social media depicted the extent of the devastation. Whole villages were split by the quake, with buildings and houses collapsing under the force. Residents who fled their homes were seen huddling over makeshift fires at hastily erected evacuation camps, battling temperatures as low as -13°C (8.7°F).

Survivor Accounts

Survivors shared their terrifying experiences, likening the tremors to “being tossed by surging waves.” Many recounted rushing out of their apartments, fearing for their lives. In Jishishan county, the worst-hit area in Gansu province, local officials reported that over 5,000 buildings had been damaged.

Root Causes: Poor Building Quality

Chinese media quoted a director of the Gansu rescue team, attributing the widescale damage to poor building quality in the villages. Many homes, often old and made of clay, were ill-equipped to withstand the quake’s force. The earthquake’s impact exposes the vulnerability of infrastructure in remote regions.

Ethnic Diversity and Geographical Significance

Gansu province lies between the Tibetan and Loess plateaus and borders Mongolia. Known for its remoteness and ethnic diversity, it is one of China’s poorest regions. The epicenter of the quake was in Linxia Hui Autonomous Prefecture, home to various Chinese Muslim groups, including the Hui, Bonan, Dongxiang, and Salar people.

Magnitude Discrepancy

Chinese authorities reported a magnitude of 6.2 on the Richter scale, while the US Geological Survey (USGS) recorded a magnitude of 5.9 with a depth of 10km (6 miles). Approximately 10 aftershocks have occurred, adding to the challenges faced by local authorities and rescue teams.

Regional Impact

Xinjiang, the province west of Gansu, also experienced a 5.5 magnitude quake on Tuesday, though there were no immediate reports of casualties. Across the region, power and water supplies have been disrupted, further hindering rescue efforts.

China’s Seismic Vulnerability

China sits in a region where multiple tectonic plates, including the Eurasian, Indian, and Pacific plates, converge. This geographical reality makes the country particularly prone to earthquakes. The Gansu earthquake serves as a stark reminder of the seismic risks faced by China.

Questions Related to Exams

Q1. What was the magnitude of the earthquake in Gansu province?

Answer: The earthquake in Gansu province had a magnitude of 6.2, according to Chinese authorities, while the US Geological Survey (USGS) recorded it as 5.9.

Q2. How much financial assistance has been earmarked for earthquake relief?

Answer: A sum of 200 million yuan has been allocated for assistance in earthquake relief.

Q3. What geographical significance does Gansu province have?

Answer: Gansu province lies between the Tibetan and Loess plateaus, bordering Mongolia. It is known for its remoteness and ethnic diversity.


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