At least 111 people were killed after a massive earthquake measuring 6.2 on the Richter scale struck China's Gansu province, authorities said on Tuesday, December 18. According to the China Earthquake Networks Center, the quake occurred at 11.59 pm on Monday night and had a focal depth of 10 km, reports Xinhua news agency.
The epicentre Liugou Township is about 8 km from the county seat of Jishishan Bao'an, Dongxiang, Salar Autonomous County in Linxia Hui Autonomous Prefecture, Gansu.
The earthquake was also felt strongly in the cities of Xining and Haidong in Qinghai, where some houses collapsed and cracked. The fatalities were reported from Gansu and neighbouring Qinghai.
The provincial fire and rescue department has sent 580 rescuers aided with 88 fire engines, 12 search and rescue dogs, more than 10,000 sets of equipment to the disaster area.
The railway authority has suspended passenger and cargo trains passing through the quake zone and ordered a safety check of the tracks.
In the Dahejia Township, where the temperature dropped to minus 16 degrees Celsius at dawn, more than 140 medical staff at a local hospital were busy taking care of the injured people, some of whom also have loved ones out of contact in the quake.
President Xi Jinping has ordered full rescue efforts to Gansu. In a statement, President Xi Jinping said that "all efforts should be made to carry out search and rescue, treat the injured in a timely manner, and minimise casualties".
Gansu, one of China's poorest regions, lies between the Tibetan and Loess plateaus and borders Mongolia.
China sits in a region where a number of tectonic plates, notably the Eurasian, Indian and Pacific plates, meet and is particularly prone to earthquakes.
Last September, more than 60 people were killed when a 6.6-magnitude quake hit the southwestern Sichuan province. A 1920 earthquake in Gansu, which killed more than 200,000 people, is also recorded as one of the world's deadliest in the 20th century.