Home AsiaChina Strong Earthquake Hits Wushi County in Xinjiang, China

Strong Earthquake Hits Wushi County in Xinjiang, China

by S. Jack Heffernan Ph.D

In the early hours of Tuesday, a powerful 7.1-magnitude earthquake struck Wushi County in Aksu Prefecture, northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, as reported by the China Earthquake Networks Center (CENC).

The epicenter, located at 41.26 degrees north latitude and 78.63 degrees east longitude, with a depth of 22 km, was situated in a township within the mountainous border area between China and Kyrgyzstan, preliminary reports from the CENC revealed.

The quake, felt across various cities and prefectures in Xinjiang, resulted in the collapse of residential houses and livestock sheds in the epicenter. Local sources reported minor injuries among herdsmen, with some residential structures affected.

A child was reported buried, prompting a swift response from local authorities. The local police station received the distress call around 3:10 a.m., and emergency personnel rescued the child, who is now receiving medical treatment in stable condition. The child’s mother sustained minor injuries.

As of 4 a.m. Tuesday, the region experienced 14 aftershocks, with the strongest registering at a magnitude of 5.3. The earthquake prompted an emergency response from railway authorities, leading to the halting of passenger trains for safety checks. Services for 27 trains were affected.

Power supply disruptions were reported in some areas shortly after the quake, but services were gradually restored. The Aksu area, where the quake was strongly felt, saw residents seeking safety in open spaces despite the freezing temperatures.

The Wushi County fire and rescue brigade, along with the Aksu prefecture fire and rescue detachment, swiftly mobilized teams to the epicenter for disaster response. A total of 182 vehicles, 800 people, and 32 dogs are on standby for disaster relief efforts, according to the Xinjiang regional fire and rescue department.

To support those affected, 1,000 tents, 5,000 cotton-padded coats, 10,000 quilts and mattresses, 5,000 foldable beds, and 1,000 stoves have been dispatched to Wushi County. The region remains on high alert as rescue and relief efforts continue in the aftermath of this seismic event.

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