At least 116 people lost their lives when an earthquake hit northwest China, according to reports on Tuesday. The disaster occurred in Gansu province, where at least 105 people were killed and nearly 400 were injured. An additional 11 fatalities and 100 injuries were reported in the city of Haidong in the neighboring province of Qinghai.
The earthquake, with a magnitude initially reported as 5.9 by the US Geological Survey, struck around midnight, causing buildings to collapse and extensive damage. People rushed into the streets for safety, and many homes were destroyed.
The earthquake’s epicenter was near the border of Gansu and Qinghai provinces, with the city of Haidong about 100 kilometers southwest of Gansu’s capital, Lanzhou. The quake was also felt in Xi’an, a major city in Shaanxi province, approximately 570 kilometers away. Although initially reported as magnitude 6.2 by Xinhua, the US Geological Survey recorded it as magnitude 5.9.
Rescue efforts were immediately initiated in freezing conditions, with Chinese President Xi Jinping calling for “all-out efforts” in search and relief work. Temperatures below freezing in the high-altitude area added to the challenges, and precautions were taken to guard against secondary disasters.
Following the initial earthquake, several smaller aftershocks occurred, and authorities warned of possible tremors with a magnitude exceeding 5.0 in the coming days. A separate earthquake measuring 5.2 in magnitude was reported in Xinjiang province on Monday morning.
Power and water supplies were disrupted in some villages around the epicenter, and rescue operations were underway. More than 1,400 firefighters and rescue personnel were deployed to the affected area, with an additional 1,600 on standby. Emergency supplies, including drinking water, blankets, stoves, and instant noodles, were being sent to the affected region.