Strong quakes rattle two regions of China, affecting thousands

Three people are dead and dozens injured after a series of earthquakes rattled Southwest China’s Yunnan province and Northwest China’s Qinghai province, since Friday.

China has allocated 10 million yuan (about $1.56 million) from its central budget for disaster relief to the provinces of Yunnan and Qinghai.

The emergency funds, allocated by the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Emergency Management, will be used to aid disaster relief and ensure people’s livelihoods in the affected areas.

Authorities have also sent 5,000 tents, 10,000 folding cots and 20,000 blankets to facilitate the relief work.

The National Health Commission on Saturday dispatched medical teams, consisting of surgeons, critical-care experts, and psychologists, to the two regions.

Four earthquakes over 5.0-magnitude struck Yangbi Yi autonomous county in Dali Bai autonomous prefecture of Yunnan from 9 pm to 11 pm Friday Beijing Time. The tremors were felt in all 12 counties and cities of the prefecture, with Yangbi being the worst hit.

Hours later at 2:04 am Saturday, a 7.4-magnitude earthquake jolted Maduo County of Golog Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, according to the China Earthquake Networks Center (CENC). The county is located over 4,000 meters above sea level.

The two locations are about 2,000 km apart.

In Yunnan, by 3 pm Saturday, three people were killed and 32 others injured, according to a press briefing on Saturday night. Seven people were severely injured and 25 others had minor injuries.

Earlier on Saturday morning, Li Zepeng, Deputy Head of the prefecture, said that a large number of houses and facilities were damaged in the areas hit by the quake.

Soon after the earthquake, China’s Ministry of Emergency Management (MEM) and the Yunnan provincial disaster reduction committee office initiated emergency response and dispatched rescuers.

The prefecture of Dali also set up an earthquake relief headquarters, sending nine teams to nine villages and towns to carry out relief work.

So far, over 16,200 rescuers and relief materials including tents and daily necessities have been dispatched to the quake area.

Yangbi has arranged 380 centralized settlement sites for over 85,000 affected people.

In Qinghai province, 13 people suffered slight injuries, local rescuers said. Roads and houses were damaged.

Strong tremors were felt by residents in provincial capital Xining, which is 385 km away from the county seat of Maduo.

Work teams and well-equipped rescue forces have been immediately dispatched to the quake-hit area.

As of 6 pm Saturday, 5,409 people have been relocated in Maduo county, and 370 tents have been set up in schools, hospitals and nursing homes.

The earthquake occurred in the sparsely-populated pastoral areas, where brick and wood bungalows are mostly scattered, rescuers said.

The barns and sheep pens of the local residents were damaged to a large extent, said Doter, Party secretary of the county’s Huanghe Township.

At an average altitude of 4,200 meters, Maduo County is located at the source region of the Yellow River with a great number of rivers and lakes.

In the past five years, about 25 earthquakes of magnitude 3 or above have occurred within 200 kilometers of the epicenter, the largest of which occured Saturday, CENC data showed. 

To see a full picture essay of the rescue missions after the devastation, visit ‘PICTORIAL’ page of this website.

(Pic: Rescuers set up a tent in Yangbi Yi autonomous county, Southwest China’s Yunnan province, May 22, 2021. /Xinhua)

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