Beijing/Jishishan, Dec 20: The death toll in the powerful 6.2-magnitude earthquake that jolted a mountainous region of northwestern China late Monday night has risen to 131, local authorities said on Wednesday.
A total of 113 people were killed in the Gansu, while the death toll in the neighbouring Qinghai province in the Himalayan region has risen to 18 from 14 on Tuesday, with 16 others still missing in the quake, the deadliest in nine years.
Over 700 hundred people were injured in both provinces.
Qinghai province is adjacent to the Tibet Himalayan region, which is prone to frequent earthquakes due to the shifting of continental plates.
A total of 74 people have been rescued so far while 4,298 were evacuated, China’s Ministry of Emergency Management said. It added that property worth over 15.3 million yuan (about USD 2.16 million) was also saved.
The earthquake damaged 155,393 houses in Gansu.
According to the China Earthquake Networks Centre, the quake jolted Gansu and Qinghai provinces at 11:59 pm on Monday, with a focal depth of 10 kilometres.
The earthquake’s epicentre, Liugou township, is about 8 km from the county seat of Jishishan Bao’an, Dongxiang, Sala autonomous county in Linxia Hui autonomous prefecture in Gansu.
According to the ministry, over 736 rescuers from central enterprises’ projects in nearby areas and 2,042 firefighters have been sent to the quake-hit region.
The ministry said that more relief supplies are also on the way as the third batch of relief goods, including 2,000 cotton tents, 5,000 rollaway beds, 5,000 overcoats, and 10,000 quilts, have been allocated to Gansu.
A total of 133,500 relief items have been sent to Gansu and the neighbouring Qinghai province to support the basic needs of those affected by the earthquake, state-run Xinhua news agency said.
Traffic has been resumed on all rural highways connecting areas severely affected by the quake.
All the expressways, as well as national and provincial trunk roads in Gansu and Qinghai, are operating smoothly, and relief personnel, supplies and vehicles can reach the disaster-hit areas unimpededly, the Ministry of Transport said.
Efforts have also been made to restore power supply in quake-hit areas.
The damaged main power grid circuits in the earthquake-stricken area of Jishishan County have been fully restored as of 6:30 pm Tuesday, authorities said.
In Linxia Hui autonomous prefecture, where the county is located, electricity supply for all power users has been resumed, the National Energy Administration said.
Power supply to users in Qinghai affected by the earthquake has also been fully restored as of 7:21 pm, according to the State Grid Qinghai Electric Power Company.
Monday night’s quake was China’s deadliest since an earthquake killed 617 people in Yunnan province in 2014