A powerful earthquake, measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale, has hit the China-Kyrgyzstan border, raising concerns about potential widespread damage.
The quake struck Wushu County in Aksu prefecture around 2 am local time, according to the China Earthquake Networks Center.
About 200 rescuers were swiftly dispatched to the epicenter to address the aftermath.
Reports from the Associated Press indicate that six people sustained injuries, with over 120 homes suffering damage or collapse in the freezing weather.
The Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region government revealed that two individuals were seriously injured, while four suffered minor injuries.
Additionally, 47 houses collapsed, 78 were damaged, and some agricultural structures crumbled, as reported on the region’s official Weibo account.
Despite downed power lines, electricity was rapidly restored, according to Aksu authorities.
State broadcaster CCTV reported multiple aftershocks, some reaching a magnitude of 4.5.
The earthquake primarily affected a rural area predominantly inhabited by Uyghurs, who have been subjected to a state campaign of forced assimilation and mass detention in recent years.
The China National Fire and Rescue Administration posted a video on social media showing firefighters heading to the quake’s epicenter.
Footage from a Weibo user displayed residents bundled in winter jackets standing outside, while a photo from CCTV revealed a cracked wall with fallen chunks.
The tremors were felt in neighboring countries, with reports of people leaving homes in Kazakhstan’s Almaty and strong tremors in India’s New Delhi, located about 1,400 km away.
While the US Geological Survey warned of potential casualties, none were immediately reported in the mountainous rural area affected by the quake.
The report highlighted the likelihood of significant damage and a potentially widespread disaster.
Wushu County, where the earthquake epicenter is located, is grappling with temperatures well below freezing.
This comes just a day after a landslide in southwest China buried dozens of people, resulting in at least eight fatalities.
In December, another quake in northwestern China claimed 148 lives and displaced thousands in Gansu province.
The harsh winter conditions have added complexity to the ongoing aid operations, reminiscent of the challenges faced in responding to the December earthquake.