Multiple Dead After Northwestern China Hit by Major Earthquake

( – Statista reports show between 1,400 and 2,500 annual earthquakes reaching a magnitude of five or above around the globe between 2000 and 2023. According to the US Geological Survey, the most active year was 2010, with 23 earthquakes measuring 7.0+ on the Richter scale. Recently, Mother Nature once again shook the earth. This time, she struck China, killing over 100 people and leaving hundreds of others injured. Sadly, the toll continues to rise.

What Happened?

On December 18, the New York Post reported a magnitude 6.2 earthquake hit northwestern China. Provincial officials said it was the deadliest one to hit the region in the past 10 years. The 2013 event claimed nearly 200 lives in southwest China in the Sichuan province.

The recent event happened around midnight. Initial counts put the death toll at 118 people — 105 from Gansu and 13 from Qinghai. The injury count swelled above 500. On December 19, CBS News updated the death count to at least 126 people and 700 others injured. The earthquake took out entire houses and other buildings, as well as power and roads. Unfortunately, the weather in the region is well below freezing, making the search and rescue effort challenging. Many have been left out in the cold because they have no homes now and nowhere to go. One resident, Ma Dongdong, reportedly told The Associated Press that he and his family were able to make it to a shelter, but at least 700 other people were there, too. He also noted that three bedrooms in his home had been destroyed and his business, a milk tea shop, had split open. Those at the shelter were all waiting for warm clothes and blankets. The average current temperature there is around 14 degrees Fahrenheit.

Other Events and Commentary

According to the Post, the US Geological Survey listed the quake as a 5.9 magnitude, while also reporting several aftershocks in the region. People could feel the event up to 60 miles away from the quake’s epicenter.

Chinese leader Xi Jinping quickly called for search and rescue efforts to begin and encouraged the quick delivery of relief supplies and repair materials because of the extreme cold. Hundreds of people in the Gansu province have been searching for survivors in the rubble and debris ever since.

Adding to the activity in the area, NPR noted another 5.5 magnitude earthquake hit 10 hours after the first in the Xinjiang region near the China/Kyrgyzstan border — west of the first strike. Fortunately, the second event hit a remote area. There have been no injuries reported from that quake so far.

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