Strong Earthquake in Northwest China That Killed at Least 148 Causes Economic Losses Worth Millions

Feng Yanrong/Xinhua via AP
In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, soldiers clear debris on the damaged houses after the earthquake in Chenjia Village of Dahejia Township, Jishishan County, northwest China’s Gansu Province on Dec. 20, 2023.

BEIJING (AP) — The strong earthquake that hit northwest China this week, killing at least 148 people, caused economic losses estimated to be worth tens of millions in the agricultural and fisheries industries, state media said Saturday.

Officials in Gansu conducted preliminary assessments that showed the province’s agricultural and fisheries industries have lost 532 million yuan (about $74.6 million), state broadcaster CCTV reported.

Authorities were considering the best use of the relief fund, set up days before, for the agricultural sector to resume production as soon as possible, the report said.

The magnitude 6.2 quake struck in a mountainous region Monday night between Gansu and Qinghai provinces and about 1,300 kilometers (800 miles) southwest of Beijing, the Chinese capital. CCTV said 117 people were killed in Gansu and 31 others died in neighboring Qinghai, while three people remained missing. Nearly 1,000 were injured and more than 14,000 homes were destroyed.

During a visit Saturday to several villages in Gansu and a county in Qinghai, Chinese Premier Li Qiang urged authorities to improve living conditions for the survivors of the quake by every available method, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

Li said the top priority of relief efforts was to make sure people stay warm and safe in winter, the report added.

CGTN, the Chinese state broadcaster’s international arm, said the first batch of 500 temporary housing units had been built for residents in Meipo, a village in Gansu, on Friday night.

Many had spent the night in shelters set up in the area as temperatures plunged well below freezing. Funerals were held, some following the Muslim traditions of much of the population in the affected area.

Most of China’s earthquakes strike in the western part of the country, including Gansu, Qinghai, Sichuan and Yunnan provinces, as well as the Xinjiang region and Tibet. The latest quake was the deadliest one in the country in nine years.