Northwestern China hit by 5.5 magnitude quake: 8 dead, 23 injured

Eight people were killed and 23 others injured on Thursday after a 5.5-magnitude earthquake jolted China’s northwestern Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. So far, the quake has affected lives of more than 12,000 people. A total of 9,200 people have been relocated, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

More than 1,000 soldiers and police officers, and 1,500 civilians have rushed to the quake-stricken areas for rescue operations, according to the quake emergency response headquarters. Wang Fuyou, the ruling Communist Party chief of the county seat, said the quake was followed by aftershocks which were also felt strongly.

Cracks appeared on the walls of houses in the county. Some people were buried after adobe houses near the epicenter collapsed, Wang was quoted as saying by the report. The county government has sent security personnel to carry out search operations in Quzgun village, the worst-hit village in the quake having a population of 449 people, Wang said.

In Quzgun village, 820 heads of livestock were injured or killed and 1,520 homes collapsed. The power supply network across the county seat, including the quake-hit areas is operating normally, the local power company said.

So far, the Xinjiang seismological bureau recorded 82 aftershocks following the quake. The epicentre, with a depth of about 8 km, was monitored in the southeast part of the Pamir Plateau.

The average altitude within 5-km around the epicenter is 4,347 metres. The population within a radius of 20 km and 50 km from the epicenter is estimated at 580 and 6,200 respectively. The area within a radius of about 200 kilometers from the epicenter has recorded 226 earthquakes above 3 magnitude over the past five years, including a 6.7-magnitude quake on November 25, 2016 in Akto County.

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