China's Northwest Earthquake: Death Toll Reaches 149, Search for Missing Continues
China's Northwest Earthquake: Death Toll Reaches 149, Search for Missing Continues

Beijing: China's northwestern regions are grappling with the aftermath of a powerful 6.2-magnitude earthquake that struck a remote mountainous area between Gansu and Qinghai provinces on December 18. The death toll has now reached 149, with two individuals still missing. Donghai city in Qinghai reported 32 casualties, while Gansu recorded 117 deaths. The earthquake caused extensive destruction, reducing homes to rubble and triggering mudslides in Qinghai province. Over 1,000 people were injured, and more than 14,000 homes were destroyed, making it the deadliest earthquake in China in nine years.

In response to the disaster, primary schools in Jishishan county, Gansu, resumed classes in tents. Authorities plan to use the winter break to repair damaged schools and set up temporary structures for the upcoming spring semester. Efforts are underway to provide temporary housing units for survivors facing freezing temperatures. The first batch of 500 units has been built in Meipo, a village in Gansu. Over 87,000 people have been resettled, but the earthquake has caused significant economic losses in the agricultural and fisheries industries, estimated to be worth tens of millions of dollars.

Chinese Premier Li Qiang visited affected villages in Gansu and Qinghai, emphasizing the importance of improving living conditions for survivors, with a focus on ensuring warmth and safety during the winter. Funerals, following local traditions, have been held throughout the week. Most earthquakes in China occur in the western part of the country, including provinces like Gansu, Qinghai, Sichuan, Yunnan, as well as the Xinjiang region and Tibet. The deadliest earthquake in recent years was a 7.9-magnitude tremor in 2008 in Sichuan, causing extensive casualties and leading to a prolonged effort to rebuild with more resilient materials.

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