A mourning event for the victims of the 6.2-magnitude earthquake in Jishishan county, Gansu Province, is held in Daheshan town, Jishishan, on December 25, 2023. Representatives from the PLA, Armed Police and others attend the event.
A mourning event for the victims of the 6.2-magnitude earthquake was held on Monday in Jishishan county, Northwest China's Gansu Province. Impacted areas in Gansu and the neighboring Qinghai Province are focusing on the re-settlement of victims and treating the injured while gradually resuming school, work, and production, striving to restore everyday life.
The earthquake has claimed more than 100 lives to date.
The mourning ceremony was held in Jishishan, where the earthquake hit the hardest. Representatives of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA), Armed Police and others attended the event. All participants removed their hats and stood in silence for three minutes to mourn the victims, and laid flowers in remembrance. Mourning events were also held simultaneously in three other severely affected towns.
The earthquake had killed 32 people in Haidong city in Northwest China's Qinghai Province as of Sunday, according to the provincial bureau of emergency management. The Gansu government said 117 people had died, with 781 injured during the earthquake as of Friday morning.
The Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Emergency Management on Monday pre-allocated 400 million yuan ($56.05 million）of natural disaster relief funds to support earthquake relief efforts in the Gansu and Qinghai provinces. The funds will be used to provide emergency assistance to affected populations, transitional relocation and resettlement, compensation for deceased individuals, and the restoration and reconstruction of damaged housing.
Representatives from the People's Liberation Army, Armed Police and medical workers attend a mourning event for the victims of the 6.2-magnitude earthquake in Jishishan county, Gansu Province, on December 25, 2023. Photo: VCGRescue and re-settlement of the injured and earthquake victims remains ongoing. The National Health Commission said on Sunday that all those injured have received timely and effective treatment.
As of Monday, a total of 529 individuals injured during the earthquake have been discharged from the hospital, while the number of critically injured individuals has decreased from 42 to 12, media reported.
An estimation of losses caused by the earthquake started on Friday and is expected to be completed by December 30, said the Gansu authority on Monday.
Gansu's agriculture and rural authority said on Saturday that, according to preliminary estimates, the earthquake caused direct economic losses of 532 million yuan ($74.55 million) to Gansu's agriculture, animal husbandry and fishery industries.
Local government in Gansu said that as of Sunday, Jishishan county has established 48 resettlement points, and erected over 7,500 temporary houses.
Impacted areas are gradually resuming school, work, and production, in an effort to return to everyday life. On Sunday, some shops in Jishishan began to reopen.
The education bureau in Jishishan county also said that primary and secondary schools in the county will gradually resume classes.
Among the 244 schools in the county, students are allowed to return to school from Monday to Friday once the school buildings have proven safe. Schools with no structural damage are required to carry out repairs during winter vacation to ensure students can return before spring semester in 2024, the Global Times learned from the county's education bureau.
Schools that suffered severe damage have been instructed to use temporary classrooms for teaching, the bureau said.
Meanwhile, the education bureau in Qinghai also said last week that schools were ready to resume classes. Local media reported that 451 schools already resumed in-person classes.
An official from Tuanjie village in Jishishan county who requested anonymity told the Global Times that their current work is focused mainly on the resettlement of victims. "Almost 90 percent of the houses were impacted during the earthquake… now we are racing against time to erect movable plank houses so we can transfer victims from tents and dismantling some of the dilapidated buildings near re-settlement camps."
After the earthquake, the Gansu Provincial department of housing and urban-rural development organized multiple forces to go to disaster-stricken areas to carry out assessment of houses. Currently, nearly 50,000 households have been assessed.
Ma Yandong, an official from Gansu's housing, urban-rural development and township construction authority said that the rural houses that collapsed or were severely damaged were mostly older structures, mainly consisting of self-built homes and auxiliary buildings constructed by villagers.
These were mostly earth and wood or brick and wood structures, with load-bearing walls made of earth or bricks. The connection between the walls and the wooden frame was weak, making them less resistant to high-intensity earthquakes, Ma told the Xinhua News Agency.
"In recent years, Jishishan county has been promoting the renovation of dilapidated rural housing to solve the safety problems in main residential houses," said Ma, noting that the newly built or renovated rural houses did not collapse.
Experts say that the earthquake has highlighted the urgent need to improve the seismic resistance of dwellings in rural areas.
The Gansu authority vowed to complete the selection of sites for residential housing and rural construction by January 15, 2024, and ensure residential housing is ready by the end of October 2024.
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