8 dead in Xinjiang quake

By Mao Weihua in Urumqi and Chen Mengwei in Beijing | China Daily | Updated: 2017-05-12 07:27

8 dead in Xinjiang quake

Rescuers help a local resident transfer his belongings after a magnitude 5.5 earthquake jolted Taxkorgan county in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region on Thursday. Li Jing / Xinhua

121 aftershocks recorded by 1 pm Thursday; 10,000 people relocated

At least eight people were killed and 23 injured by a magnitude-5.5 earthquake that jolted Taxkorgan county in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region on Thursday morning.

The quake affected more than 12,000 people, 10,000 of whom were being relocated to safe places. The government immediately activated emergency response procedures.

The injured have been sent to hospitals for treatment. More than 1,000 soldiers and police officers, along with 1,500 civilians, rushed to the quake-stricken areas to assist. Relief goods are on the way, according to the quake emergency response headquarters.

The local government said at least 1,000 tents, 12,000 metric tons of food and 5,000 tons of coal are urgently needed.

The China Earthquake Administration activated emergency response procedures, saying it would send a team to help with relief efforts. It added that all departments concerned are on high alert, and will continue to monitor aftershocks and evaluate damage.

The Ministry of Civil Affairs and the China National Commission for Disaster Reduction initiated Grade IV emergency response measures, the lowest in the emergency response system. It includes daily damage reports and allocation of money and relief materials within 48 hours.

The ministry and commission sent teams to assist in the resettlement of those displaced by the earthquake.

Wang Fuyou, Party chief of Taxkorgan, said the quake was strong and was followed by frequent aftershocks. The walls of some houses cracked, and people were buried after adobe houses near the epicenter collapsed.

The county government has sent personnel to search for the buried people in Quzgun village, the worst-hit community in the quake, where 449 people lived, Wang said. In Quzgun village, 820 farm animals were injured or killed and 1,520 houses collapsed.

The county's electrical power supplier said the power network across the county, including the quake-hit areas, is operating normally. Water supplies and communications are also normal, Wang said.

As of 1 pm, the Xinjiang earthquake bureau had recorded 121 aftershocks.

The epicenter of the quake, at a depth of about 8 kilometers, was located at 37.58 degrees north latitude, 75.25 degrees east longitude.

Xinhua contributed to this story.

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