Earthquake kills 75, injures 600 in north-west China

DPA Beijing | Updated on July 22, 2013

At least 75 people died, 14 were missing and about 600 were injured after a 5.9—magnitude earthquake hit north—western China’s Gansu province early Monday, the government said.

The quake shook homes in Gansu’s Minxian and Zhangxian counties at 7:45 am (2345 Sunday GMT) and was felt in nearby cities, the Gansu Seismological Bureau reported.

Authorities in Dingxi city, which administers both counties, said 48 people died and 13 were missing in Minxian’s worst—hit township of Meichuan.

More than 600 homes collapsed and about 1,400 were seriously damaged in Minxian, where the quake also caused landslides, the local government said.

An earlier report said the quake destroyed some 380 homes and seriously damaged 5,600 others in Zhangxian.

The US Geological Survey estimated the magnitude at 5.9 while initial reports by the China Earthquake Networks Centre and the Gansu provincial seismological bureau estimated it at 6.6.

Roads were blocked to many townships and villages, while electricity was cut in several areas of Zhangxian and Minxian, state media reported.

Local authorities mobilized 2,000 soldiers with two helicopters, plus hundreds of police and civilians to help with rescue work.

The International Red Cross said staff from its Chinese branch would assess the damage and planned to send initial relief supplies including 200 tents and 1,000 “family kits” of basic household items.

“Heavy rain is forecast in the disaster—hit area, which is likely to affect rescue and relief efforts and pose dangers of landslides,” the International Red Cross said.

“The two counties at the intersection of which the quake epicentre was located, Minxian and Zhangxian, are still recovering from weeks of torrential rain and flooding, increasing residents’ vulnerability in face of this fresh disaster,” it said.

The rescue work was also hampered by some 400 aftershocks, including a 5.6—magnitude quake at 9:12 am, reports said.

The epicentre was about 180 kilometres south—east of the provincial capital, Lanzhou, and around 1,200 kilometres west of Beijing.

Published on July 22, 2013

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