Last updated at: (Beijing Time) Tuesday, December 02, 2003

Earthquake hits NW China's Xinjiang, kills 11

The Monday morning earthquake has left 11 people dead, 26 severely injured and 47 slightly injured, and affected 1,056 people in total, said Huang Qilong, Party head of the 76 agricultural division of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC).


11 killed in Xinjiang quake
By 3 p.m. Monday, 11 people were killed in the earthquake in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

All the dead were workers and their families in Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps. Eight of them were of Mongolian ethic minority, and three were children with the eldest aged four.Two people were badly injured, said Qian Cunbin, colonel of the 76th regiment.

Rescue and medical teams have been dispatched by the corps to the area.

The quake, measuring 6.1 on the Richter scale, occurred at 9:38 a.m. Monday, with the epicenter located at 43.1 degrees north latitude, 80.1 degrees east longitude, about 80 kilometers away from the county proper of Zhaosu.

The quake was strongly felt in Zhaosu County and surrounding areas, and a provisional investigation showed that more than 700 houses collapsed and nearly 140 houses were in critical condition.

Snow hinders relief work
Snow has hindered relief work in quake-hit Zhaosu County, say officials. The 30cm deep ground snow covered roads in the mountainous region and delayed the arrival of rescue staff from Yining City, 300 km away.

The local temperature had dropped to minus 17 degrees Celsius and those made homeless by the earthquake had been relocated to warm houses with heating, said Qian Cunbin, head of the XPCC's 76 division.

The quake, measuring 6.1 on the Richter scale, occurred at 9:38a.m. Monday, in Zhaosu county, the Ili Kazak Autonomous Prefecture with the epicenter located at 43.1 degrees north latitude, 80.1 degrees east longitude, some 80 km from the county seat of Zhaosu.

The earthquake was strongly felt in Zhaosu county and its adjacent areas, and a preliminary survey showed that more than 700houses tumbled and nearly 140 houses turned dilapidated and were in bad shape.

The XPCC incurred great losses. Soldiers and police officers were dismantling damaged houses to avoid the danger of them collapsing and hurting people. Some victims were sitting around fires to stay warm.

Most of the collapsed houses, built over three decades ago, were occupied by XPCC workers.

In October 1954, the central government ordered most of the PLAunits stationed in Xinjiang transferred to local civilian work.

Separated from the national defense forces, the military units formed a production and construction corps, whose mission was to carry out both production and militia duties, and develop and guard border areas.

With a population of 2.45 million, including 933,000 workers, the XPCC is subordinated to the dual leadership of the central government and the government of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

Zhaosu county is located in the border area between China and Kazakhstan, where seismic activity is common. Monday's earthquake was the strongest in recent years.

By People's Daily Online

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Ten killed in earthquake in NW China's Xinjiang


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