Deadly quake rocks China

Recovery and relief operations are underway in northwest China after a powerful quake rocked the Xinjiang province on Monday (Feb. 24). Local and state authorities have confirmed that at least 250 people were killed and 1,000 others were injured and warned that the death toll could climb.
The epicenter of the quake, which struck early Monday morning, was located about 24 miles east of Jiashi city, near the Xinjiang border with Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

Chinese officials registered the temblor's magnitude at 6.8, while the U.S. Geological Survey reported a 6.3 magnitude.

More than 1,000 homes and schools collapsed, which caused the majority of fatalities, and left piles of debris with victims possibly trapped underneath.

Within hours, military teams were dispatched to the area, where they joined emergency rescue workers combing through mounds of wreckage, overwhelmed by the scale of the damages.

Their efforts have been hindered, however, by continued seismic activity. Throughout the morning, aftershocks rattled the province, sending residents streaming into the streets. Despite freezing temperatures, many chose to remain outdoors, fearing their homes might collapse.

In response, the Red Cross Society of China immediately dispatched a relief team to the quake zone, armed with relief items including clothing and quilts for those left homeless. After releasing $30,000 of its funds for relief operations, the Society also issued a country-wide appeal for assistance.

Meanwhile, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is on stand-by to offer financial and technical assistance if requested.

Since the quake occurred, responding crews have battled downed communications lines and the remote area of the disaster zone in their efforts to determine the extent of damages.

Xinjiang is the largest province in China, but also one of the poorest. While the region is prone to seismic activity, few buildings are constructed to withstand strong earthquakes.


DisasterRelief is a unique partnership between the American Red Cross, IBM and CNN dedicated to providing information about disasters and their relief operations worldwide. The three-year-old website is a leading disaster news source and also serves as a conduit for those wishing to donate to disaster relief operations around the globe through the international Red Cross movement. American Red Cross disaster assistance is free, made possible by voluntary donations of time and money from the American people. To help the victims of disaster, you may make a secure online credit card donation or call 1-800-HELP NOW (1-800-435-7669) or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish). Or you may send your donation to your local Red Cross or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, D.C. 20013. The American Red Cross is dedicated to helping make families and communities safer at home and around the world. The Red Cross is a volunteer-led humanitarian organization that annually provides almost half the nation's blood supply, trains nearly 12 million people in vital life-saving skills, mobilizes relief to victims in more than 60,000 disasters nationwide, provides direct health services to 2.5 million people, assists international disaster and conflict victims in more than 20 countries, and transmits more than 1.4 million emergency messages to members of the Armed Forces and their families. If you would like information on Red Cross services and programs please contact your local Red Cross. © Copyright, The American National Red Cross. All Rights Reserved.