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Severe soil liquefaction hits Minhe County after M6.2 earthquake in Gansu, China

Severe soil liquefaction engulfs homes after M6.2 earthquake in Gansu, China

Severe soil liquefaction was reported in Minhe County, Gansu, China, following the deadly M6.2 earthquake on Monday, December 18, 2023.

According to reports, half of one village in Minhe County was engulfed in mud, killing 19 people. The village is located about 10 km (6.2 miles) from the epicenter of the M6.2 earthquake that hit at 15:59 UTC (23:59 local time) on December 18.

As of 18:00 UTC on December 19, the earthquake’s death toll has exceeded 120, with over 700 people injured. Authorities expect fatalities to rise as the extent of the damage becomes clearer. Over 5 000 buildings have been impacted by the quake, many of which were struck by subsequent mudslides, and numerous roads have suffered damage due to landslides.

The widespread destruction has been partly attributed by local media to the poor quality of building construction in the affected villages, with many homes being older structures made of clay.

Search and rescue operations are currently underway, with teams facing harsh conditions as temperatures plummeted to -13 °C (8.7 °F) on Tuesday.

Updates

11:00 UTC, December 22

The total number of fatalities has risen to 144, with over 14 000 homes reported destroyed. State media reports that hundreds of temporary one-room housing units were established yesterday.

Rescue efforts continue as teams navigate through heavy mudslides that have engulfed two villages in Qinghai province, leaving three people still missing.

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