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Saturday, July 20, 2024

Rescue teams work tirelessly to pull victims to safety in freezing weather in China

Braving below-freezing temperatures, rescue teams worked tirelessly to pull victims to safety in the wake of the disaster.

Navigating the aftermath of a formidable magnitude-6.2 earthquake that struck Jishishan county on Monday night, the inhabitants of China’s northwestern Gansu province grapple with the consequences. This seismic upheaval, which rocked the region near the Gansu-Qinghai border, has sown widespread destruction, presenting formidable challenges for rescue efforts and shrouding the survivors’ lives in an air of uncertainty.

Brave Rescuers Battle Extreme Conditions

Braving below-freezing temperatures, rescue teams worked tirelessly to pull victims to safety in the wake of the disaster. The earthquake, striking just before midnight, forced residents out of their homes into the cold darkness of the night. The rescuers faced daunting challenges, including damaged infrastructure, power and water disruptions, and hazardous landslides.

Read More: Northwest China hit with catastrophic earthquake

Rising Death Toll and Widespread Devastation

As of Wednesday morning, the death toll in Gansu reached 113, with 782 reported injuries. Neighboring Qinghai province reported 18 fatalities and 198 injuries. Over 207,000 homes were destroyed in Gansu, leaving more than 145,000 people affected. The earthquake’s impact was felt across 22 towns and villages, with two villages experiencing the worst damage.

Immediate Relief Efforts

Rescue operations in Gansu concluded on Tuesday afternoon, shifting the focus to treating the injured and providing temporary shelter to survivors. The harsh winter conditions, with temperatures plummeting to minus 15 degrees Celsius, added complexity to the recovery efforts. Emergency supplies, including tents, quilts, and food, were delivered to affected areas, but the challenge of addressing the needs of displaced families loomed large.

Ongoing Threats

The Gansu Provincial Seismological Bureau warned of the possibility of strong aftershocks in the coming days. Aftershocks, which can be as powerful as magnitude 5, pose an ongoing threat to the region. The bureau emphasized the importance of closely monitoring seismic activity to issue early warnings. The fear of aftershocks further complicates the resettlement and recovery process.

Stories of Survival

Amidst the devastation, stories of survival and resilience emerge. Du Haiyi, a 21-year-old, managed to save his mother and sister trapped under debris. However, their family home was completely leveled. Homeless families faced a harsh reality, burning wheat straw for warmth and seeking refuge in emergency shelters. The challenges of surviving the winter without permanent shelter are daunting, especially for those who lost their homes in the earthquake.

Read More: China’s Vital Contribution to Sustainable Development in Pakistan

As the affected communities in Gansu and Qinghai provinces grapple with the aftermath of this devastating earthquake, the resilience and determination of the people, coupled with ongoing relief efforts, will be crucial in rebuilding lives. The tragic events serve as a reminder of the unpredictable nature of natural disasters and the need for preparedness and swift response to mitigate their impact on vulnerable communities. The journey to recovery will undoubtedly be long and challenging, but the spirit of solidarity and support will play a pivotal role in helping these communities rebuild and move forward.