BEIJING – At least 118 people were killed and more than 200 injured after a powerful earthquake struck a remote region of western China overnight, state news agency Xinhua reported on Tuesday.
The tremors hit Zhishishan County in southwestern Gansu Province, near the border with the mountainous Qinghai Province, home to Tibetan, Hui, Dongxiang and Salar ethnic groups.
Xinhua reported that the earthquake measured 6.2 on the Richter scale. Of the dead, 100 were in Kansu and 11 in Kingai.
Water, electricity, transport, communication and other infrastructure in the area were damaged by the earthquake.
Chinese President Xi Jinping called for quick all-out efforts to search and rescue and treat the injured. As the affected area is at high altitude and the cold weather is cold, he urged for urgent dispatch of relief supplies and infrastructure repairs.
The U.S. Geological Survey reported that the earthquake measured 5.9 on the Richter scale and caused several aftershocks.
Rescuers told Chinese media that frozen roads drove through towns and villages in the hardest-hit region of Jixishan County. It is a mountainous region inhabited by numerous ethnic minorities including Tibetans and Chalars. Rescue workers are now working in an average temperature of 14 degrees Fahrenheit, which is below freezing.
About 10 hours later, to the west, a 5.5-magnitude earthquake struck near China’s border with Kyrgyzstan in the Xinjiang region. An earthquake occurred in a distant area. So far, there has been no loss of life or damage to buildings.
NPR’s Emily Feng contributed reporting.