Looking back at previous earthquakes of around magnitude 6, why did Gansu suffer such a heavy loss this time?

In general, earthquakes with a magnitude slightly above 6 do not cause many casualties, and casualties on the scale of hundreds often require an earthquake close to magnitude 7. So, what is the particularity of this earthquake?

Perhaps for many, the severity of the casualties in this earthquake came as a surprise, but for me, I made a judgment about the casualties in the local area shortly after the earthquake occurred, even before the casualty data was available.

The main reason for this judgment was based on my analysis of earthquake data, the epicenter, topography, and population distribution. This is based on my experience from studying many earthquakes, and for me, it was somewhat expected.

There have been numerous cases of high casualties in Level 6 earthquakes, and they all share one common characteristic: they are too close to densely populated areas. Certainly, as earthquake experts have analyzed, factors such as thrust rupture, nighttime occurrence, low temperatures, site effects, and shallow epicenters, as well as poor local building quality, contribute to the high casualties in this earthquake. However, I still believe that the main reason is the proximity of the epicenter to densely populated areas.

Not to mention, there have already been two examples this year, the M6.2-6.3 earthquake in Herat, Afghanistan in October and the M5.9 earthquake in Nepal in November, which resulted in around 2-3 thousand and 138 fatalities, respectively.

This is a typical result of earthquakes occurring near densely populated areas. The Afghanistan earthquake was close to the third-largest city in Afghanistan, Herat, only tens of kilometers away. Similarly, the Nepal earthquake was near Jumla and Zazerkorod.

Of course, in some developing and less developed countries, poor building quality is also a significant factor. Let’s take another example of a developed country that is prone to earthquakes:

The earthquakes in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 2010, 2011, and 2016.

On September 4, 2010, a 7.0 (measured 7.1 in China) earthquake struck Christchurch, New Zealand, 40 km west of the city, causing damage but no fatalities (though there were reports of one fatality). People praised New Zealand’s earthquake resilience.

However, on February 22, 2011, a 6.1 (measured 6.3 in China) earthquake occurred 5-10 km south of Christchurch, resulting in 185 fatalities, including over ten Chinese nationals.

On November 13, 2016, a massive 7.8 (measured 8.0 in China) earthquake occurred 100 km north of Christchurch, with no casualties in the city, and a total of only two fatalities in New Zealand.

So, why did a 6.1 earthquake near Christchurch cause such significant casualties compared to the other two earthquakes? The key reason is that the 6.1 earthquake was a direct hit on the city center. Looking at the figures, Figure 1 shows M6, Figure 2 shows M7, and Figure 3 shows M8. Among the three earthquakes, it was actually the M6 earthquake that inflicted the highest intensity on Christchurch, with a Mercalli intensity of 8, and the intensity center was right in the city center. Furthermore, the maximum ground acceleration of this Christchurch 6.0 earthquake reached 1000gal, slightly higher than the 900-plus gal in the Gansu earthquake. This means that even if the Gansu earthquake had occurred in a relatively developed city, it might still have resulted in hundreds of casualties, which is highly likely.

Earthquakes that happen directly under a city or near it are extremely deadly. The release of earthquake energy is highly concentrated. There is a common misconception that the further you are from the epicenter, the weaker the destructive force, but that’s not the case. It follows a very steep power law. Just a few kilometers from the epicenter, the results can be completely different.

For places where the fault ruptures and the surface ruptures (the macro epicenter), even if you are just tens of meters away, the damage results can be completely different, as demonstrated in the Wenchuan earthquake.

So, a Level 6 earthquake directly under a city is much more destructive than a Level 7 earthquake a few dozen kilometers away or an Level 8 earthquake hundreds of kilometers away.

Returning to the Gansu earthquake, the epicenter was only a few kilometers from the city. Coupled with the local river valleys and sedimentary terrain, site effects, nighttime, and low temperatures, as well as poor building quality, significant casualties were inevitable.

Satellite imagery shows densely populated areas.

Of course, China also has similar examples. For instance, the Yunnan Yingjiang earthquake on March 9, 2011, resulted in 25 casualties in the local area. The epicenter of the earthquake was only 3 km from Yingjiang County, with the intensity center within the county. In May 2014, Yingjiang experienced 5.6 and 6.1 magnitude earthquakes consecutively, with no casualties.

In September 2012, the 5.6 and 5.7 magnitude earthquakes in Yiliang, Yunnan, were less than 10 km from the county seat, with at least 80 casualties.

Another comparison is the 6.5 magnitude Ludian earthquake and the 6.6 magnitude Jinggu earthquake in 2014. Due to the fact that Ludian had a nearby town called Longtoushan, which was heavily affected, Ludian earthquake caused more than 500 casualties, whereas Ludian experienced a total of over 700 casualties and disappearances, compared to Jinggu earthquake which resulted in only 1 casualty.

The concentration of earthquake energy release means that even a 5.5 magnitude earthquake directly under a city can have quite serious consequences, not to mention a 6 or 6.5 magnitude earthquake.

We have compared recent strong earthquakes in China, such as the Ludian earthquake, Jiuzhaigou earthquake, Madoi earthquake, Menyuan earthquake, and Lushan earthquake, and all of them had a certain distance from the county seat. Therefore, it is a misconception to think that an earthquake close to magnitude 7 is required to cause around a hundred casualties.

Of course, we also have typical examples of magnitude 7 earthquakes occurring near cities in China, such as the 2010 Yushu earthquake, which resulted in nearly 3,000 casualties and disappearances.

  1. The earthquake-stricken area is poor and underdeveloped, and the self-built rural houses are old with poor quality. (Old houses lack the concept of reinforced concrete.)

  2. The earthquake occurred in the deep night when people were asleep at home, and there was no time to escape.

  3. Occurring in the harsh winter, it is very unfavorable for the injured.

According to the official determination by the China Earthquake Networks Center, “On December 18, 2023, at 23:59, a 6.2 magnitude earthquake occurred in Jishishan County, Linxia Prefecture, Gansu Province, with a depth of 10 kilometers. Nearby cities such as Lanzhou and Xining felt strong tremors, and even Xi’an and Shanxi experienced noticeable tremors.”

Initially, everyone thought this was a relatively ordinary earthquake. However, by 7 o’clock in the morning, preliminary statistics showed that the earthquake had already claimed 111 lives in Gansu and Qinghai provinces, with 100 casualties in Gansu and 11 in Qinghai. This sparked public attention, mourning, and confusion.

As a magnitude 6 earthquake, how could it cause so many casualties? For example, in 2022, there were several earthquakes with similar magnitudes, but the casualties were relatively low. In 2022, on January 8th, a 6.9 magnitude earthquake in Menyuan County, Qinghai, injured 10 people due to improper evacuation. On June 1st, 2022, a 6.1 magnitude earthquake in Lushan County, Sichuan, resulted in 4 deaths and 42 injuries. On September 5th, 2022, a 6.8 magnitude earthquake in Luding County, Ganzi, Sichuan, led to 93 deaths and 25 missing persons.

Generally, earthquakes with a magnitude just above 6 do not cause many casualties, and fatalities of this scale are often associated with earthquakes approaching a magnitude of 7. So what made this earthquake different?

The epicenter of this earthquake was located at latitude 35.7°N and longitude 102.8°E, approximately 8 kilometers west of Jiashishan County Town (Chuimatang Town) in Jishishan County. It was 39 kilometers away from Linxia City and 102 kilometers from Lanzhou City.

In terms of environmental conditions, the closest residential areas to the epicenter were Liuji Township’s Heya Village and Gaixinping Forest Farm (town-level), both located 4 kilometers away. It was 5 kilometers west of the Gansu-Qinghai provincial border. Geographically, this area is a valley extending northeastward from the Xiaojishishan Mountains.

In China, there are two places named Jishishan, one is the Dahou Jishishan in the Huangnan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Qinghai Province, and the other is the Xiaojishishan in Jishishan County, Linxia City, Gansu Province, which marks the provincial boundary between Gansu and Qinghai.

Xiaojishishan Mountain is known for its afforestation, scenic beauty, and it falls under the jurisdiction of Gaixinping Forest Farm. Beyond the mountain ridge to the west lies Xunhua County in Qinghai. To the north, the Yellow River cuts through Xiaojishishan Mountain and flows eastward, forming the boundary between this county and Minhe County in Qinghai and Yongjing County in Gansu.

Further downstream, the Yellow River descends from the first terrace to the second terrace, cutting Liujiagorge. The first mega hydropower station in China with over one million kilowatts, the Liujiagorge Hydropower Station, was constructed here.

The tectonic movement along the edge of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau created geological features like the Xining-Minhe Basin to the north, the Xunhua-Hualong Basin to the south, and the Linxia Basin to the southeast. This region is densely populated and relatively economically developed in the eastern part of Qinghai Province.

Geomorphologically, it is a transitional zone from the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau to the Loess Plateau in western Gansu. In terms of shallow geological formations, it mainly consists of sediments shaped by the Yellow River. From a deeper structural perspective, it is part of the northern margin fault zone of the Laji Mountain.

Laji Mountain is located on the northeastern edge of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and serves as a demarcation line between the topographic terrains of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau’s interior and the Loess Plateau. Historically, more than 20 moderate destructive earthquakes of magnitude around 5 have been recorded on both sides of Laji Mountain.

However, major earthquakes have been relatively rare. This 6.2 magnitude earthquake is the largest ever recorded in this fault zone.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS), considering the local geological structure, attenuation characteristics of seismic waves, and the amplification effects of soil layers on seismic parameters, estimated the Modified Mercalli Intensity (MMI) of this earthquake.

Based on the distribution characteristics of the predicted MMI shaking map by USGS, it is estimated that the maximum intensity in the severely affected area could exceed level 8. The potential affected area with MMI level 6 or above covers an area of nearly 6,000 square kilometers.

On the other hand, the China Earthquake Administration’s Institute of Engineering Mechanics, Strong Motion Observation Center, has collected real-time strong motion and intensity data from 57 sets of instruments deployed within 100 kilometers of the epicenter.

Among them, the GS.N0028 station, located 13.6 kilometers from the epicenter, recorded the highest intensity, reaching a level of 9.5 on the MMI scale. The GS.N0027 station, closest to the epicenter at 5.8 kilometers, recorded an intensity of 8.8 on the MMI scale.

By connecting more than 10 stations with intensities exceeding 8 on the MMI scale, it is estimated that the area with intensities exceeding 8 caused by this 6.2 magnitude earthquake in Jishishan covers approximately 1,500 square kilometers.

What does this concept imply? Looking back at the 6.8 magnitude earthquake in Luding in September of the previous year, the highest recorded intensity was also 9, with an area of 280 square kilometers at level 9 and 505 square kilometers at level 8. The area at level 7 covered 3,608 square kilometers, and the area at level 6 was nearly 15,000 square kilometers.

Therefore, based on the current automated instrument measurements, the area with intensities exceeding 8 in the 2023 Jishishan 6.2 magnitude earthquake is approximately three times larger than the 505 square kilometers of level 8 intensity in the 2022 Luding 6.8 magnitude earthquake.

Hence, despite appearing to be a smaller magnitude 6.2 earthquake, it actually resulted in a much larger seismic intensity range than the 6.8 magnitude earthquake, leading to the unfortunate loss of lives on a significant scale.

We deeply mourn and pay our respects to the victims of this tragedy.

Regarding the concept of “Earthquake Intensity,” it is important to note that there is a strict distinction between earthquake magnitude and intensity. Earthquake magnitude represents the amount of energy released by the earthquake and is a single numerical value for a given earthquake.

On the other hand, “Earthquake

These are mud-brick houses at the grassroots level. It’s the kind where you casually lay a foundation on a homestead, then layer bricks and mud on it. Putting a locust wood beam on top is considered good. After that, you lay green tiles, and it’s considered a rural residence. Nowadays, they might even add a layer of cement and white plaster to the exterior.

This type of house doesn’t require an earthquake; when you need to demolish or renovate it, you can gather a few strong villagers to push the walls down.

There are also self-built storefront houses in grassroots towns, multi-story buildings for villagers' improvements. Although they are reinforced concrete, the materials and structural mechanics inside are abysmal. I once referred to these grassroots buildings as “chopstick structures” because their support frames are as thin as chopsticks, and they rely on minimal concrete and rebar. These houses can lean or tilt without much effort, and you can find news about “self-built houses tilting” with a quick search.

The two types of houses mentioned above are the mainstream configurations in all grassroots areas in China at present. Wealthier areas may use more reliable reinforced concrete and framework structures, but at least 70% of grassroots buildings nationwide fall into these categories.

When these types of houses face a significant earthquake, it’s essentially like shaking a stack of well-arranged building blocks on a yoga mat. This is a significant reason why there are heavy casualties in grassroots areas when earthquakes occur.

The impact of earthquakes on buildings is reflected in the ground motion at the building’s location, including ground acceleration, velocity, and displacement. Ground acceleration is the most critical indicator, with a larger value indicating greater shaking of the ground, and a longer duration representing a longer period of building shaking, which is more detrimental.

The figure below compares the maximum ground acceleration measured in several earthquakes summarized by Professor Xinzheng Lu and the ground acceleration values taken for seismic design in China, which corresponds to the highest design level, i.e., 9 degrees of seismic design.

It can be seen that in the areas most severely affected by this earthquake, the ground shaking has exceeded the 9-degree design level. Many houses in this earthquake-stricken area are particularly vulnerable due to their poor seismic resistance, so severe damage to these buildings is not surprising.

Low temperature + fragile building structures.

Before the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake, many houses in Hubei were made of pure brick and prefabricated panel structures. After the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake, many houses in Hubei were converted to reinforced concrete frame structures. This significantly increased the earthquake resistance of these houses. Additionally, houses with reinforced concrete frame structures, even if they collapse, do not pancake; there is space supported by many wall corners inside.

Now, when an earthquake occurs in the south, as long as you’re not crushed, there is still a high probability of survival. In the north, you might freeze to death!

Because that area is relatively underdeveloped, many houses there are made of earth, which inherently lack earthquake resistance.

Secondly, it happened in the early morning, and there was no way to escape.

Third, the weather was extremely cold, so once someone was buried under debris, they could quickly succumb to hypothermia.

This can actually be seen as a reflection of China’s current “very uneven development.”

People who are used to living in more developed eastern regions, especially young people in urban areas, like those born after 2000, might think that there are no really poor places left in China if they don’t pay much attention to poverty alleviation efforts. However, in reality, even though China has made great achievements in poverty alleviation, there are still many people in western regions living in houses that could be classified as dangerous. The movie “Hidden in the Dust” was quite popular online last year. The scenes in it are not from a distant past century; they are from the present, or at most, from four or five years ago in western rural areas. When you see those houses in the movie, you can understand why there were so many casualties even in a magnitude six earthquake. It’s not a matter of withstanding a certain level of earthquake; it’s a matter of worrying about them collapsing on a windy day.

The most severely affected area during the Wenchuan earthquake was the schools. Apart from the high concentration of people, the bigger issue was substandard construction quality due to cutting corners…

The “Technical Regulations for Seismic Appraisal and Strengthening of Buildings” standard classifies seismic fortification of buildings into 4 categories. According to the standard, buildings that have undergone seismic strengthening should meet the prescribed “service life” of 30 to 50 years.
The seismic fortification levels for different categories are as follows:

  1. Special fortification category includes special buildings like nuclear power plants, which require specialized seismic fortification standards.
  2. Key fortification category includes hospital outpatient clinics, wards, kindergartens, primary and secondary school classrooms, student dormitories, and cafeterias, large shopping malls, theaters, etc., with seismic fortification standards that must exceed 8 degrees.

Officially released information confirms that the magnitude of the Wenchuan earthquake was indeed 8 degrees, and normally, school buildings should not have collapsed.

The Xuan Kong Middle School in Yingxiu Town, the most severely affected by the Wenchuan earthquake, is now just a ruin, clearly indicating non-compliance.

As for the location of this earthquake in Gansu, it only emerged from poverty last year, and many buildings, as shown in the picture below, may collapse at any moment, earthquake or not. It would be strange if they didn’t collapse in a magnitude 6 earthquake, and when they do, it’s natural that people get buried:

However, at times like this, dealing with why the construction quality is substandard and why it has not been rectified for so long often takes a back seat, given the sheer number of such issues in reality…

The magnitude of an earthquake is just one aspect; the depth of the earthquake’s source is also closely related to the extent of damage. If an earthquake of the same magnitude has a source depth of more than twenty kilometers, the level of destruction may not be as significant. The recent earthquake in Jiashi County is a shallow-source earthquake with a depth of only ten kilometers.

Furthermore, the local towns and townships are relatively impoverished areas, and most of the houses are made of adobe. When you look at those houses, the quality is really not comparable to more affluent areas.

People in the western regions generally have lower levels of education, and information is relatively limited and closed off. Their understanding of earthquakes and their consequences is likely limited, and their level of self-help and mutual aid in the event of a disaster is also not high.

This is the biggest tragedy to occur this year. Nearly one hundred and fifty people have lost their lives (133 confirmed dead in two provinces, and 13 people are missing). Let’s hope they can get through this difficult time soon.

I feel that the fact that this earthquake occurred in winter is a significant factor! Moreover, it happened in a relatively remote and economically disadvantaged area, which makes the situation even more dangerous during earthquakes! Many buildings are old and more prone to accidents! It’s possible that all three factors came together, which is why this earthquake is so severe!

To answer this question fairly and objectively, we need to consider two key factors.

First, traditional rural housing.

Second, the per capita income of the local residents.

In the present day, the majority of the population lives in high-rise buildings, uses smartphones, and enjoys well-decorated homes. However, reflecting on the clothing, food, shelter, and transportation of our ancestors in the Hexi region in the year 2000, we can gain insight into the past.

Understanding the challenges of national unity and ethnic solidarity in the Hexi region.

“Eastern Gansu is the hardest place under heaven” is a famous saying from Zuo Zongtang’s western expeditions.

Linxia is a sensitive area in itself, and true development only began with comprehensive reform and opening up, which is less than forty years ago. When it comes to rural housing, it’s measured over a century.

Now, let’s explore the housing of Hexi two thousand years ago and understand how the people of Hexi constructed their homes and their ability to withstand earthquakes through an article by local historian Liu Yongnian titled “A Brief Study of Ancient and Modern Rural Housing in Hexi.”

In ancient times, Hexi’s residential structures mainly consisted of fortresses, strongholds, and hamlet ruins. It was during the Ming Dynasty that large-scale house construction began, referred to as “zhuang” (villages), such as Zhaojiazhuang, Sunjiazhuang, Liukexiang, etc.

In fact, in ancient times, people in the northern regions lived in caves, and the majority of Hexi’s population lived in dugout homes. These were essentially dugout caves, modified to serve as residences, which were common in the Hexi region.

When the Ming Dynasty began large-scale house construction, the most common type was the traditional adobe house.

The process involved:

  1. Consulting a feng shui master to determine the auspicious direction and mark the area.
  2. Using a compass and ropes to stake out the land.
  3. Constructing the foundation wall using rammed earth, with no consideration for earthquake resistance.
  4. After the courtyard wall was built, carpenters assembled various components such as beams, rafters, pillars, and lintels through mortise and tenon joints.
  5. The framework of the house was erected on an auspicious day, which is the “raising of the roof” stage. This was a communal effort, with friends and family invited to participate.
  6. Brick walls were constructed at the base.
  7. Adobe mud walls were added.
  8. A layer of compressed earth.
  9. The walls inside and outside the house were plastered with lime powder, also known as “lime skin.”
  10. The house was then ready for habitation.

This construction model persisted in Hexi for hundreds of years, and thus, the presence of brick-concrete structures in rural areas of Northwest and North China does not necessarily imply poverty. This is a part of traditional architectural culture.

As shown in the pictures, this is the overall appearance of rural houses in Hexi, which are generally not earthquake-resistant.

In 1978, the responsibility system was implemented, and the fact is, Hexi truly started to prosper around the year 2000. Further development occurred after 2010.

Poverty alleviation was achieved in 2021, in less than three years. Hexi faces a common problem with the rest of the country - rural depopulation due to urbanization.

In reality, during the urbanization process, many homes and villages in Hexi have been abandoned and left to decay due to depopulation. The remaining population, especially the younger generation, is reluctant to leave their hometowns.

The current challenge is not whether rural buildings can withstand earthquakes but how to retain young people in rural areas. This is the most critical focus.

Without rural development, even with significant investments in reinforced concrete buildings, rural areas without young people have no hope.

Rural self-built brick-and-wood houses and urban reinforced concrete buildings cannot be compared. Under the same level of intensity, the former completely collapsed, while the latter may only exhibit cracks.

When the earthquake magnitude reaches 6 or above, casualties are inevitable. Surprisingly, the depth of the epicenter in this case was only 10 kilometers from the surface. With such shallow depth, the seismic intensity can be adjusted upward by 0.5 to 1 degree based on the measured earthquake magnitude.

In terms of calculations, the rate of earthquake energy attenuation (destructive force decay) roughly follows a cubic relationship with the distance from the epicenter. The maximum ground damage occurs near the earthquake epicenter. If the depth of the epicenter in this earthquake had been 5 to 10 kilometers deeper, the outcome would not have been so devastating. Nature can be unpredictable.

The magnitude of an earthquake represents the size of seismic waves released during the event, indicating the energy released. The destructiveness of an earthquake is not determined by its magnitude; instead, it is described by seismic intensity. Seismic intensity is influenced not only by magnitude but also by geological structures, soil conditions, and the seismic resistance of buildings. To illustrate, an earthquake with a magnitude of 8 can cause vastly different levels of damage depending on whether it occurs deep beneath the ocean or in a densely populated urban area.

Therefore, it is normal for an earthquake to have a relatively low magnitude but still possess strong destructive power. Several factors contribute to this, including shallow epicenter depth, brittle rock layers, liquefaction of soils (where soil temporarily turns into liquid), secondary hazards like landslides and debris flows in mountainous areas, inadequate seismic resilience of buildings, and adverse weather conditions such as low temperatures affecting rescue efforts.

For specific details about this earthquake, I would defer to a professional analysis.

The Yunnan Yingping earthquake with a magnitude of 6.4 that occurred two years ago resulted in only 3 casualties. Many local houses in that area were constructed with wooden frames, and extensive reinforcement with steel bars was carried out before the earthquake. In contrast, the recent 6.2 magnitude earthquake in Gansu had ground motion accelerations and response spectrum intensities exceeding the design criteria. Additionally, some residential buildings did not meet the seismic resistance requirements, which contributed to their collapse and the high casualty toll.

While I do enjoy some witty banter myself, I hope to see professional responses in this topic that can easily be swayed off course. This is a matter that concerns the general public, and even though there might be a lot of emotions involved in this discussion, I hope my assumption is wrong. (I hope I’m wrong and won’t be proven wrong.)

This is the answer:

Kunshan City has a population of 2.09 million and a fiscal budget expenditure of 37.9 billion yuan.

Summary of the budget execution in Kunshan City in 2022 and the budget draft for 2023 - Suzhou Municipal People’s Government. The total expected expenditure for the whole city, including all districts and towns, is 37.9 billion yuan, with a carryover of 650 million yuan to the next year.

Linxia Hui Autonomous Prefecture has a population of 2.124 million and a total budget expenditure of 34 billion yuan.

Report on the implementation of the fiscal budget for the whole prefecture and prefecture-level governments in Linxia Hui Autonomous Prefecture in 2022 and the budget draft for 2023 - Expenditure budget implementation. The total general public budget expenditure approved by the Prefecture People’s Congress at the beginning of the year was 17.238 billion yuan. As of the end of October, after adding fiscal transfer payments for balance, ethnic minority areas, key ecological functional areas, county-level fiscal guarantee awards, as well as new general bond funds and various types of special transfer payments, the total budget expenditure for the whole prefecture changed to 34.047 billion yuan, with actual expenditures of 27.373 billion yuan completed, accounting for 80.4% of the budget changes. This represents a 4.44% increase compared to the same period last year, with an additional expenditure of 1.164 billion yuan.

Jishishan Bao’an Dongxiang Salar Autonomous County has a population of 280,000 and a fiscal expenditure of 3.5 billion yuan.

In 2022, the fiscal budget execution of Jishishan County and the budget draft for 2023 - Expenditure completion situation (Part 2). In 2022, the total general public budget expenditure for the county was 3,303.6 million yuan, accounting for 93.63% of the budget changes of 3,528.32 million yuan.

Actually, it’s just one word: poverty. Many rural areas, including my hometown, still have houses made of earth walls. Due to population loss and migrant work, these rural houses have been neglected and are in need of reinforcement. This is why a small earthquake can cause such extensive damage. Fortunately, my home and my sister’s home, which are 50 kilometers away from the epicenter, are safe, with only some cracks in the walls. However, the small town near the epicenter has suffered severe damage. It is estimated that three to four thousand households have had their houses collapse. Currently, most families have been relocated to tents, including my family and my sister’s family. This is to prevent any further aftershocks.

Below are channels for assistance. I sincerely thank all the compassionate individuals.

Currently, the disaster-stricken areas urgently need cotton tents, cotton quilts, cotton clothing, cotton shoes, mobile panel houses, electric blankets, folding beds, stoves, and medicines (for colds, trauma, and inflammation).

Announcement on Receiving Donations for the 6.2 Magnitude Earthquake in Jishishan County, Linxia Hui Autonomous Prefecture, Gansu Province

On December 18, 2023, at 23:59, a 6.2 magnitude earthquake struck Jishishan County, Linxia Hui Autonomous Prefecture, Gansu Province. The disaster has received attention and concern from all walks of society. In order to carry out social disaster relief and donations effectively, the following matters are hereby announced:

Receiving Funds

Account Name 1: Jishishan County Red Cross Society

Bank: Gansu Bank Jishishan Branch

Account Number: 61013000900002415

Please note when donating: Donation fund for disaster relief of the 6.2 magnitude earthquake in Jishishan County, Linxia Prefecture, Gansu Province

Account Name 2: Jishishan County Charity Association

Bank: China Agricultural Bank Jishishan County Branch Office

Account Number: 27337101040006256

Please note when donating: Donation fund for disaster relief of the 6.2 magnitude earthquake in Jishishan County, Linxia Prefecture, Gansu Province

Receiving Supplies

Currently, the disaster-stricken areas urgently need cotton tents, cotton quilts, cotton clothing, cotton shoes, mobile panel houses, electric blankets, folding beds, stoves, and medicines (for colds, trauma, and inflammation). Donated supplies will be received by the Jishishan County Charity Association.

Receiving Address: No. 24 North Binhe Middle Road, Chuimatang Town, Jishishan County (Jishishan County Comprehensive Social Welfare Institute)

Contact Numbers for Donations

Jishishan County Charity Association:

Han Xuewu, Contact Number: 18809308015

Ma Tianyu, Contact Number: 13830123330

Ma Haiyun, Contact Number: 15378020201

Han Xuewu, Contact Number: 18809308015

Fang Xueming, Contact Number: 18393069969

Jishishan County Red Cross Society:

Phone: 0930-7722412

Ma Xueliang, Contact Number: 13830102339

Zhao Guochen, Contact Number: 13909303136

Fang Yuanfu, Contact Number: 13993072124

Ma Jinguo, Contact Number: 13830113307

Han Meifang, Contact Number: 13519306662

For matters related to rescue teams and rescue equipment, please contact Ma Xuexian (contact number: 13909307921). When contacting, please specify the number of rescue team members and the quantity of equipment types. The command center will make overall arrangements based on the disaster relief needs and request support.

We thank all sectors of society for their concern and assistance.

Linxia Hui Autonomous Prefecture

Jishishan Bao’an Dongxiang Salar Autonomous County

6.2 Magnitude Earthquake Provincial Seismic and Relief Command Headquarters

December 19, 2023

Magnitude 6 only assesses the size of an earthquake; the real impact on building damage depends on the seismic intensity at the epicenter. In this case, the magnitude may not be high, but the estimated seismic intensity at the epicenter is significant. Moreover, it is also related to the local economic level, which directly determines building quality and structural design. To draw a rough analogy, a lower magnitude is like saying that the bomb explosion was small, but where the bomb explodes makes a significant difference in the consequences.