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China earthquake ‘like being tossed by waves’ as at least 127 dead and 155,000 homes damaged

Thousands of homes damaged and power supply cut as earthquakes hit Gansu, Qinghai, and Xinjiang provinces

China’s deadliest earthquake in more than a decade has killed at least 127 people and injured around 700, leaving rescue teams scrambling to reach survivors in freezing weather conditions.

The 6.2-magnitude earthquake struck at 11.59pm local time on Monday, the China Earthquake Networks Centre said, as residents in northwestern Gansu and neighbouring Qinghai provinces were sleeping or preparing to sleep.

It was followed by a second 5.5 magnitude earthquake hours later in neighbouring Xinjiang.

The earthquake triggered landslides and wrecked roads and infrastructure, snapping away communication, electricity and water lines in the region.

Thousands of survivors and rescue workers are bracing for a second night of sub-zero temperature as efforts to find missing people and survivors from the rubble ran into the evening.

The Chinese government has dispatched military aircraft to expedite the deployment of hundreds of soldiers, rescue and relief workers, as well as relief materials to one of the country’s poorest provinces.

Around 2,200 people from the Gansu provincial fire department, along with 900 from the forest brigade and 260 professional emergency rescue workers, were sent to the disaster frontlines, according to the Xinhua news agency. Additionally, hundreds from the military and police were mobilized for deployment.

President Xi Jinping said “all efforts should be made to carry out search and rescue, treat the injured in a timely manner, and minimise casualties”.

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