China: In the early hours of Tuesday, a powerful 7.1-magnitude earthquake struck Wushi County in Aksu Prefecture, located in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. The China Earthquake Networks Center (CENC) reported that the earthquake occurred at 2:09 a.m. Beijing Time, with the epicentre situated in a mountainous border area between China and Kyrgyzstan within Wushi County.
The CENC recorded the epicentre’s depth at 22 km, located at 41.26 degrees north latitude and 78.63 degrees east longitude. Preliminary reports suggest that several residential houses and livestock sheds collapsed in the epicentre, causing minor injuries to some herdsmen. The epicentre is approximately 50 km from the county seat of Wushi, with five villages within a 20-kilometre radius.
As of 4 a.m. Tuesday, the region experienced 14 aftershocks with a magnitude of three or higher, the strongest measuring 5.3 magnitude. The earthquake prompted an immediate emergency response from railway authorities, leading to the halting of passenger trains and thorough inspections of railway tracks, bridges, signal equipment, and other facilities in the affected areas. The services of 27 trains were affected.
Temporary disruption of electricity supply occurred in parts of the area shortly after the quake, but supply restoration efforts were underway. The earthquake’s impact extended to various cities and prefectures across Xinjiang, including Urumqi, Hotan, and Kashgar.
In response to the disaster, the Wushi County fire and rescue brigade and the Aksu prefecture fire and rescue detachment quickly mobilized teams to the epicentre area. A total of 182 vehicles, 800 people, and 32 dogs have been put on standby for the disaster relief mission, as confirmed by the Xinjiang regional fire and Rescue Department.
The relief efforts include the dispatch of 1,000 tents, 5,000 cotton-padded coats, 10,000 quilts and mattresses, 5,000 foldable beds, and 1,000 stoves to Wushi County, according to the Chinese News Agency. The situation is ongoing, with authorities and emergency services working diligently to assess the damage and provide necessary support to the affected areas.