Earthquake rocks western China

Earthquake rocks western China

Earthquake rocks western China

Written by Staff Writer

11 May, 2017 | 3:48 pm

A 5.5 magnitude earthquake shook western China’s Taxkorgan county today (May 11), killing at least nine people and injuring over 20 people.

The affected area is a remote mountainous part in China’s Xinjiang region. It borders Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Pakistan.

Reports say that 23 people have been injured, one of whom is in a critical condition.

The numbers (as of May 11, 3.45 pm Sri Lanka time):

  • Quake magnitude: 5.5
  • Struck depth: 10 km
  • Taxkorgan county population: 33,000 (approx)
  • Affected: Over 12,000 people
  • Evacuated: 9,200 (approx)
  • Destroyed houses: Over 180
  • Injured: 23 people
  • Killed: 9 (at least)

Search and rescue work are underway in the area, of which most homes are made of wood and mud-bricks or rock.

Taxkorgan county is notable for being a stop on the Karakoram Highway, built along the ancient Silk Road connecting China’s far western city of Kashgar to the Pakistani capital of Islamabad.

A blast from the past

China’s west is a common place for quakes but casualty figures stay low due to the low population density. The remote and sparsely populated area is close to the border with Tajikistan. China is regularly hit by earthquakes, especially its mountainous western and southwestern regions.

However, in February 2003, a 6.8-magnitude quake in a nearby county killed 268 people and caused significant damage.

China’s deadliest earthquake this century, a 7.9 magnitude temblor with a depth of 19 km, struck Sichuan province in May 2008, killing nearly 90,000 people.

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