Earthquake claims at least 75 lives in China
Series of tremors shakes mountainous region of Gansu province
People stand outside their homes after a 6.6 magnitude earthquake hit Dingxi, Gansu province. Photograph: Reuters/China Daily
An earthquake in the northwestern Chinese province of Gansu killed at least 75 people and injured 584, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.
The 6.6-magnitude quake struck at 7.45 am local time in the city of Dingxi, toppling buildings in the region. Dingxi is located about 100 km southeast of the provincial capital, Lanzhou.
The government dispatched more than 2,000 soldiers and two helicopters to the quake area to help with rescue efforts, Xinhua reported.
The quake, which lasted about a minute, was felt in Lanzhou as well as in Xi’an, the capital of neighboring Shaanxi province.
Some rescue efforts were hampered by breakdown in communication services and blocked roads as soldiers were forced to abandon their trucks and proceed on foot, China National Radio reported.
Rain is forecast for tomorrow, which may complicate rescue, it said. Western China has been struck by several deadly earthquakes in recent years. A quake of the same magnitude hit Sichuan province on April 20th, killing at least 196 people.
In April 2010 a 6.9-magnitude quake in the Qinghai province killed about 2,700 people. In 2008 a 7.9-magnitude quake in Sichuan left more than 87,000 people dead or missing.
Chinese president Xi Jinping issued instructions to rescue crews to focus their efforts on reducing casualties from the quake.