China Earthquake toll rises to 131, nearly 1,000 injured
BEIJING — The death toll from a powerful earthquake measuring 6.2 on the Richter scale that jolted China’s Gansu and Qinghai provinces increased to 131 on Wednesday, while the number of injured persons stood at 980, authorities said.
Gansu, the worst-affected province that lies between the Tibetan and Loess plateaus and borders Mongolia, accounted for 113 deaths and 782 injuries, Xinhua news agency quoted the local authorities as saying.
Meanwhile in Qinghai, at least 18 people have died, 198 injured and 16 others still remain unaccounted for.
According to the China Earthquake Networks Centre, the quake struck at 11.59 p.m. Monday and had a focal depth of 10 km.
The epicentre of the quake was in Linxia Hui Autonomous Prefecture.
This was China’s deadliest earthquake in recent year.
The authorities said that the death toll may further increase as rescue operations continue amid sub-zero temperatures.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has ordered thousands of rescue crew to the region, among the poorest and most diverse in China.
The earthquake is the country’s deadliest since 2014, when more than 600 people were killed by a quake in south-western Yunnan province, reports the NNC.
On Tuesday, footage shown on state TV and social media networks showed entire villages split by the quake, as well as collapsed buildings and houses.
Temperatures hit -13 degrees Celsius on Tuesday.
China sits in a region where a number of tectonic plates — notably the Eurasian, Indian and Pacific plates — meet.
It is particularly prone to earthquakes.
An earthquake in Yushu in Qinghai province, which is next to Gansu, claimed almost 2,700 lives in 2010.
China’s most devastating earthquake in recent decades was in the south-western province of Sichuan in 2008 when 87,000 people were killed.