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At least 111 dead after 6.2 magnitude earthquake strikes northwest China

Beijing: At least 111 people were killed when a 6.2-magnitude earthquake struck an ethnic county in northwest China’s Gansu and neighbouring Qinghai province on midnight Monday, the local earthquake relief headquarters said.

According to the China Earthquake Networks Centre, the shallow quake jolted the region at 11:59 p.m. on Monday, with a focal depth of 10 kilometres.

Experts say shallow quakes cause heavy damage to infrastructure.

The epicentre of the earthquake Liugou township is about 8 kilometres from the county seat of Jishishan Bao’an, Dongxiang, Sala autonomous county in Linxia Hui autonomous prefecture in Gansu.

Qinghai province is adjacent to the Tibet Himalayan region which is prone to frequent earthquakes due to shifting of continental plates.

The earthquake damaged houses, roads, as well as other infrastructures, state-run Xinhua news agency quoted eyewitnesses from the area as saying.

Several villages suffered power failures and disruption of water.

According to local meteorological authorities, the daily low temperature in Jishishan is reported to climb minus 10 degrees Celsius on Tuesday.

The provincial fire and rescue department sent 580 rescuers aided with 88 fire engines, 12 search and rescue dogs, and 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, the ruling Communist Party chief of Gansu, and Ren Zhenhe, the governor of Gansu, have rushed to the disaster-hit area to command rescue and relief efforts.

Chinese President Xi Jinping ordered all-out rescue efforts to minimise casualties after the earthquake.

(Published 18 December 2023, 23:49 IST)

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