Death Toll Rises For China’s Latest Earthquake

July 25, 2013 Updated: July 25, 2013

The death toll from Monday’s earthquake near the city of Dingxi in China’s northwest Gansu Province continues to rise. According to authorities on Tuesday, the 6.6 magnitude earthquake left 95 people dead and about 1000 injured.

As of the evening of July 23, this latest earthquake, its epicenter located on the line between Min and Zhang counties, had impacted about 600 thousand people. According to China’s Ministry of Civic Affairs (MCA), the affected area encompasses 6 cities, 29 counties, and 417 towns.

As a consequence, 227 thousand people have been evacuated, with 132 thousand homes and buildings completely demolished or seriously damaged, and nearly 170 thousand other houses and structures damaged, the MCA said. Overall economic losses have been estimated at approximately US$1.2 billion (7.5 billion yuan), the MCA said.

Of the reported casualties, most occurred in Min County located 9.3 miles (15 kilometers) from the epicenter, with 92 dead, nearly 900 injured, and more than 155 thousand forced to evacuate.

Total economic losses for Min County alone, with 76 thousand homes destroyed or seriously damaged and 67 thousand homes moderately damaged, was estimated at $430 million (2.64 billion yuan).

The Chinese Academy of Sciences estimated, based on satellite images, that this earthquake has affected an area of over 6 thousand square miles (16.34 thousand square kilometers) and over 900,000 people thus far.

By Monday evening, 422 aftershocks had been recorded, with the largest—a 5.6 magnitude—recorded in the counties of Min and Zhang, said Yangcheng Evening News, a daily newspaper in the city of Guangzhou, Guangdong Province.

At about 28 miles (45 kilometers) from the epicenter, the earthquake impacted all of the 13 towns and 136 villages in Zhang County (population of 56,500), leaving one dead and 67 injured—21 seriously, according to the Beijing-based Jinghua Times. It also left behind the complete destruction of nearly 2000 homes, over 36 thousand homes damaged, nearly 28 thousand evacuated, and a direct economic loss of $32.37 million (198.76 million yuan).

In recorded history, only 25 earthquakes of greater than 5.0 magnitude have occurred within a 124-mile (200-kilometer) radius from the Dingxi epicenter, according to the China Earthquakes Network Center (CENC).

Natural disasters have been at an all-time high in China recently, with earthquakes taking the lead in causing the most damage and economic loss. Earthquakes ranging between magnitudes 5.0 and 8.0 have reportedly occurred 21 times in the first six months of this year, which greatly exceeds annual earthquake predictions made by the CENC.

Translated by Euly Luo. Written in English by Barbara Gay.

Read the original Chinese article.