A powerful magnitude 6.2 earthquake struck China’s remote Gansu province at midnight on Monday, killing at least 118 and injuring more than 500 people.

Relief and rescue teams have been facing challenges as roads and public infrastructures have been damaged, with such subzero temperatures further adding to the problem.

When did the quake strike and where?

  • At 23:59pm (15:59 GMT) on Monday, the earthquake hit Jishishan in the northwestern Gansu province, causing people to rush out of their homes out in the cold weather. Initial tremors lasted around 20 seconds.
  • Its tremors were felt as far away as 570km (354 miles) in Xi’an, northern Shaanxi province, while casualties also occurred in Haidong city of neighbouring Qinghai province, some 115km (71 miles) away.
  • The epicentre of the quake Jishishan County and neighbouring areas are still reeling from the aftereffects of the quake.
  • Emergency teams worked through the night to rescue people from the rubble but their efforts were hampered by several aftershocks, Al Jazeera correspondent Katrina Yu, reporting from Beijing, said.
  • Nearly 5,000 houses have been damaged to “varying degrees” while power and water supplies were also disrupted in some villages, according to state media.
  • The magnitude of the quake was 5.9 according to the United States Geological Survey, while the the European Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) said it was 6.1. But Chinese authorities put it at 6.2. It occurred at a depth of 35km (22 miles).

What do we know about the region hit by the earthquake?

The earthquake hit the mountainous border region between Gansu and Qinghai provinces, which lies on the east of the Qinghai-Tibetan plateau, a tectonically active area, making earthquakes common in the region.

Gansu has a population of about 26 million and in 2022, it ranked 27th out of 31 Chinese provinces and municipalities in terms of GDP size.

The rural Jishishan is almost 90km (56 miles) southwest of Gansu’s capital, Lanzhou.

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