Relief efforts underway after earthquake hits Xinjiang

2024-01-24 09:50:42China Daily Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

Rescuers search for survivors in Aksu prefecture in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region. (Photo provided by Aksu Fire Brigade to

Rescue and relief efforts are underway to assist those affected by a 7.1-magnitude earthquake that hit the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region on Tuesday, which has resulted in three deaths and five injuries, according to official reports.

All the injured have been sent to hospital for treatment, and seven teams, with around 150 medical personnel, have been deployed to the affected areas to provide assistance and psychological counseling, as well as disease outbreak control and prevention, said officials at a conference held in Wushi county in the region's Aksu prefecture.

Nearly 12,500 individuals have been relocated to safety following the quake, which struck Wushi county shortly after 2 am on Tuesday at a depth of 22 kilometers.

The epicenter was situated in a sparsely populated, mountainous area, and so relatively few casualties were caused.

Strong aftershocks have been felt in Aksu prefecture, Kizilsu Kirgiz autonomous prefecture and Kashgar prefecture.

In Ahetch county of neighboring Kizilsu Kirgiz autonomous prefecture, around 40 km from the epicenter in Wushi county, dozens of houses and sheep sheds collapsed.

A female resident surnamed Chen in Aksu, capital of Aksu prefecture, told Xiaoxiang Morning News, a Changsha-based news outlet, that she was awakened by violent shaking at around 2 am on Tuesday.

"It was so scary, and I felt like the whole building had been torn up," she said. "However, I tried to keep calm and chose to stay in the room.

"Then I experienced several aftershocks, which made the bed shake for a while," she added.

Workers from the emergency management, transportation, water conservancy, health, communications, power and other departments have been ordered to the earthquake-stricken area.

Data from the China Earthquake Networks Center show that as of 4 pm on Tuesday, over 70 aftershocks above magnitude 3 had been recorded, with the strongest reaching magnitude 5.3.

The Xinjiang Earthquake Agency and the China Earthquake Networks Center have held four consultations and concluded that the earthquake was of the main shock-aftershock type, and warned of the potential for aftershocks for some time, officials said at the conference.

Officials reminded people in disaster areas not to return to damaged houses to avoid danger.

Urumqi Railway Group suspended lines in affected areas in the immediate aftermath of the quake. Twenty-three trains were suspended as railway workers conducted a comprehensive inspection of the tracks, bridges, signal equipment, station buildings and other facilities and equipment.

As of Tuesday noon, all trains have resumed operation after being confirmed safe by railway authorities, China Central Television reported.

The Ministry of Emergency Management has sent a working group to the quake area to guide the relief work, China News Service reported.

The ministry has also asked earthquake rescue teams from the Xizang autonomous region and Gansu province to be on alert.

Tents, winter coats, blankets, cotton-padded mattresses, folding beds and heating stoves have been sent to Wushi. The first batch of approximately 10,000 relief items arrived at the disaster area by Tuesday noon.

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