07/22/2013, 00.00
CHINA
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Powerful earthquake hits Gansu: dozens dead and hundreds injured

The epicenter was in Dingxi, the most populated area in the province. Taihe village razed. Electricity and communication lines down. Risks of landslides.

Beijing (AsiaNews) - A powerful earthquake struck Gansu Province this morning, killing at least 40 people and wounding more than 200. The toll is still provisional, while thousands of soldiers from Lanzhou began their emergency operations.

The first quake occurred at 7:45 am, registering 5.9, the second major shock at 7:54 with a magnitude of 3.4, followed by further aftershocks. The epicenter is in the area of Dingxi, at a depth of about 10 km. Taihe, a village near the epicenter, suffered the most damage and all the buildings have collapsed. Gansu is one of the least populated provinces in China (26 million), but the area of ​​Dingxi has a large concentration of small towns and farms. In the county of Minxian, which includes Dingxi, there are 389 villages with a total population of 440 thousand inhabitants.

Local governments have stated that electricity supplies and telephone communications are down, and that there is now a danger of landslides.

The epicenter is about 800 km from Lushan (Sichuan), where hit by a 7.0-magnitude earthquake last April, which killed 196 people.

In 2008, another earthquake in Sichuan left over 90 thousand people dead and millions homeless.

 

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