Extremely dangerous earthquake in Xinjiang, China – ca. 60,000 severely damaged houses, 85,000 people relocated and 11000+ animals killed

Last update: April 4, 2014 at 10:23 am by By

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This report has been compiled by Armand Vervaeck, Jens Skapski, Ovidiu pop and James Daniell

Important Update February 20, 7:08 UTC

The total loss has totalled 1.08 billion CNY (177.5 million USD).
The reconstruction cost for recovery and repair is 2.13 billion CNY (350 million USD).

Initial calculations of loss were undertaken with lower intensities than now reported. The vulnerability and loss ratios match with historic Xinjiang rural earthquakes however.

Important Update February 17, 7:08 UTC

- 455,573 people have been affected (85,000 of which have been relocated)
- 236,808 rooms in total have been damaged (around 90,000 houses).
- 68,340 rooms destroyed (around 25,000 houses have collapsed)
- 91,016 rooms severely damaged (around 35,000 houses are severely damaged)
- 77,372 rooms slightly damaged (around 30,000 houses with slight damage)
- 11,515 livestock killed
- 497 bridges, and 113 roads have been damaged or blocked.

Screen Shot 2014-02-15 at 18.08.39

Important Update February 14, 14:04 UTC
China.org.cn wrote a little while ago :
The number of people affected by a 7.3-magnitude earthquake that jolted China’s Xinjiang region on Wednesday has shot up to 58,000 from the previously reported 7,800, as relief efforts continued into a third day.
By 10 a.m. on Friday, the quake had affected 58,127 residents in six counties of Hotan Prefecture, with 19,905 relocated to safety, according to figures released by the regional civil affairs department.
It has also toppled (read collapsed) 3,281 houses, damaged 30,322 other properties and killed 2,163 heads of livestock, causing direct economic losses of about 271.6 million yuan (44.5 million U.S. dollars), showed the figures.
The department said reported statistics on losses inflicted by the disaster have surged since calculations are still under way.
Relief work is progressing and no casualties have been reported, it added.
The epicenter, in a sparsely populated area with an average altitude of 5,000 meters, is more than 50 km from the nearest settlement, Aqqan Township in Yutian County, Hotan Prefecture.
As of Friday morning, the regional civil affairs authorities have distributed about 900 tents, 1,500 sets of bedclothes and 1,500 overcoats, as well as allocated 5.4 million yuan for disaster relief.
In addition, they have also delivered 54.5 tonnes of flour, 3,550 kg of edible oil and 610 tonnes of coal to the relocated.
The first batch of relief goods from the Red Cross Society of China arrived in Pixka Village in Aqqan on Friday afternoon.
The Ministry of Civil Affairs allocated 300 tents, 1,000 cotton quilts and 1,000 cotton overcoats to the quake-hit area on Friday.
The civil affairs department of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, governments at all levels in the disaster-hit region and Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps have allocated tents, quilts, overcoats, food and other daily necessities to disaster-hit people.
The basic needs of the people affected by the quake have been guaranteed, and all disaster relief work is under way in an orderly fashion, the ministry said.
Article content courtesy China.org.cn

Update February 13, 09:16 UTC :  The Chinese authorities have published a New report that shows that it can be called a Narrow Escape that nu people have been injured or killed (at least so far there are no reports of injured or killed people).
Damage Overview :
- 416 houses and 931 barns collapsed
- 4587 houses damaged
- 936 animals killed
- 6000 people affected
- 5 landslides
- 170 m roads damaged
- +6 bridges damaged
This is not a final report!

Image courtesy and copyright chinanews.com

Image courtesy and copyright chinanews.com

Images courtesy and copyright Chinese Media

Images courtesy and copyright Chinese Media

Screen Shot 2014-02-13 at 10.41.56 Screen Shot 2014-02-13 at 10.42.26

Update 23:00 UTC : It looks more and more that this earthquake was a lucky escape for the people living in that area. Due to the fact that no people lived in a radius of  50 km around the epicenter, there are no injuries or fatalities reported so far.

Update 22:00 UTC : New report says 67 houses collapsed, 1017 houses damaged, 4 bridges damaged ,  185 animals killed and 3500 animals affected. Luckily no sign of injured and killed people as yet. Let’s hope that it will remain like this.

Update 17:15 UTC : 23 houses collapsed, 861 damaged, 386 collapsed barns and 178 animals killed.

Update 16:05 UTC : The last report of the Xinjiang authorities which was published in the late Chinese evening states : 51 houses damaged, 146 livestock killed, no casualties or injuries reported so far. the next update will take some time as it is after midnight in China right now

Update 13:24 UTC : Cattle is reportedly killed in the greater epicenter area. Some train connections where temporarily suspended in Xinjiang but where restored after inspection of the rails proved that no damage was inflicted (at a big distance from the epicenter).
the picture below shows the (beautiful) scenery in the valley near the epicenter. The epicenter is located in the (not visible) mountains behind this picture. People in Xinjiang are used to earthquakes, even strong earthquakes but primitive old houses are very vulnerable for damage.

Screen Shot 2014-02-12 at 14.34.26

Update 11:59 UTC : The Xinjiang seismological authority reports that several houses collapsed in the greater epicenter area. We expect more news from the rescue teams in 1 to 2 hours. The Chinese Earthquake response is one of the quickest and best organized in the world. China has a history of many cruel earthquakes sometimes with +100000 fatalities.
A new shake-map has been published by USGS. They are now reporting a IX MMI in the unpopulated epicenter area.

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Update 11:33 UTC :
Official statement from the Xinjiang Earthquake authority :
Yutian County, 7.3 magnitude earthquake.
The Xinjiang autonomous Seismological Bureau immediately launched an emergency plan. We try to quickly find out what happened in the epicenter area and called Yutian County by telephone. Locations in Yutian county felt the earthquake strongly. Buildings in Yutian are reported with cracks. No word of  casualties so far.
Officers have been send to the epicenter area to investigate the disaster. Autonomous Region Seismological Bureau intends to sent a 23 people on-site work team with a  flight to conduct field work. Hotan Prefecture Earthquake Seismic Bureau has rushed staff  to the quake zone to report on the disaster. China Seismological Bureau will sent 13 people for earthquake fieldwork  and to assist the local governments to carry out emergency work days.

Update 10:27 UTC: A rescue team was sent by the Xinjiang government to check the affected area.

Update 09:54 UTC : An aftershock of M5.7 @ 5 km depth is just reported by one of my colleagues. Such an aftershock alone can be damaging in China!

Update 09:53 UTC : Max Wyss reports that he expects 0 to 50 fatalities and 0 to 120 injured but his data is based on the USGS data who report a Magnitude of 6.8 at 2 km. Chinese data are more dangerous at 7.3 at 12 km deep. Max Wyss also reports that only 1 small settlement is located within the 50 km radius around the epicenter.

Screen Shot 2014-02-12 at 10.57.49

Update 09:49 UTC : A similar strength earthquake along the same fault killed 100 people in 1924!

Update 09:41 UTC : CEIC, the seismological agency of the Chinese government is reporting a Magnitude of 7.3 at a depth of 12 km !

Update 09:39 UTC : The epicenter is located in a sparsely populated area, but the Magnitude is so strong that we expect serious damage and injured people in a radius of  at least 50 km.

This earthquake is EXTREMELY DANGEROUS for all villages in a radius of 50 km around the epicenter. Slight damage can be expected in a radius as far as 150 km from the epicenter.

Screen Shot 2014-02-12 at 10.34.42

844 km NE of Ludhiāna, India / pop: 1,545,368 / local time: 14:49:48.0 2014-02-12
739 km NE of Shimla, India / pop: 173,503 / local time: 14:49:48.0 2014-02-12
277 km SE of Hotan, China / pop: 114,000 / local time: 17:19:48.0 2014-02-12

Most important Earthquake Data:

Magnitude : 6.9

Local Time (conversion only below land) : 2014-02-12 17:19:50

GMT/UTC Time : 2014-02-12 09:19:50

Depth (Hypocenter)  : 10 km

Depth and Magnitude updates in the list below.

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Click on the “I Felt It” button behind the corresponding earthquake. Your earthquake experience is not only important for science, but also for people in the area as well as our global readership.

SRC Location UTC Date/time M D INFO
GEOFON Southern Xinjiang, China Feb 12 20:51 4.4 10 MAP I Felt It INFO
EMSC Southern Xinjiang, China Feb 12 20:51 4.4 10 MAP I Felt It INFO
EMSC Southern Xinjiang, China Feb 12 19:09 4.6 0 MAP I Felt It INFO
GEOFON Southern Xinjiang, China Feb 12 19:09 4.7 10 MAP I Felt It INFO
EMSC Southern Xinjiang, China Feb 12 18:00 4.5 2 MAP I Felt It INFO
GEOFON Xizang Feb 12 18:00 4.5 10 MAP I Felt It INFO
USGS Hotan, China Feb 12 18:00 4.5 17 MAP I Felt It INFO
USGS Hotan, China Feb 12 14:36 4.1 14 MAP I Felt It INFO
EMSC Southern Xinjiang, China Feb 12 14:36 4.1 10 MAP I Felt It INFO
GEOFON Xizang Feb 12 14:36 4.3 10 MAP I Felt It INFO
USGS Darya Boyi, China Feb 12 12:26 4.4 10 MAP I Felt It
GEOFON Southern Xinjiang, China Feb 12 12:26 4.7 10 MAP I Felt It INFO
EMSC Southern Xinjiang, China Feb 12 12:26 4.5 2 MAP I Felt It
GEOFON Southern Xinjiang, China Feb 12 11:14 4.7 10 MAP I Felt It
USGS Hotan, China Feb 12 11:14 4.6 10 MAP I Felt It
EMSC Southern Xinjiang, China Feb 12 11:14 4.6 2 MAP I Felt It INFO
EMSC Southern Xinjiang, China Feb 12 10:00 4.9 10 MAP I Felt It
GEOFON Xizang Feb 12 10:00 5.0 10 MAP I Felt It
USGS Hotan, China Feb 12 10:00 5.0 10 MAP I Felt It INFO
GEOFON Southern Xinjiang, China Feb 12 09:19 6.9 10 MAP I Felt It INFO
EMSC Southern Xinjiang, China Feb 12 09:19 6.9 10 MAP I Felt It
USGS Hotan, China Feb 12 09:19 6.9 10 MAP I Felt It


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Country where you felt the earthquake
City/Village where you felt the earthquake
Street or suburb (area) where you felt the earthquake
MMI II (Very weak shaking) ?
People :
Felt by persons at rest, on upper floors or favorably placed.
MMI III (Weak shaking) ?
People :
Felt indoors; hanging objects may swing, vibration similar to passing of light trucks, duration may be estimated, may not be recognized as an earthquake.
MMI IV (Light shaking) ?
People :
Generally noticed indoors but not outside. Light sleepers may be awakened. Vibration may be likened to the passing of heavy traffic, or to the jolt of a heavy object falling or striking the building.
Fittings :
Doors and windows rattle. Glassware and crockery rattle. Liquids in open vessels may be slightly disturbed. Standing motorcars may rock.
Structures :
Walls and frames of buildings, and partitions and suspended ceilings in commercial buildings, may be heard to creak.
MMI V (Moderate shaking) ?
People :
Generally felt outside, and by almost everyone indoors. Most sleepers awakened. A few people alarmed.
Fittings :
Small unstable objects are displaced or upset. Some glassware and crockery may be broken. Hanging pictures knock against the wall. Open doors may swing. Cupboard doors secured by magnetic catches may open. Pendulum clocks stop, start, or change rate.
Structures :
Some large display windows cracked. A few earthenware toilet fixtures cracked.
MMI VI (Strong shaking) ?
People Felt by all. People and animals alarmed. Many run outside. Difficulty experienced in walking steadily.
Fittings :
Objects fall from shelves. Pictures fall from walls. Some furniture moved on smooth floors, some unsecured free-standing fireplaces moved. Glassware and crockery broken. Very unstable furniture overturned. Small church and school bells ring. Appliances move on bench or table tops. Filing cabinets or "easy glide" drawers may open (or shut).
Structures :
Slight damage to buildings with low standard. Some stucco or cement plaster falls. Large display windows broken. Damage to a few weak domestic chimneys, some may fall.
Environment :
Trees and bushes shake, or are heard to rustle. Loose material may be dislodged from sloping ground, e.g. existing slides, talus slopes, shingle slides.
MMI VII (Very strong shaking) ?
People
General alarm. Difficulty experienced in standing. Noticed by motorcar drivers who may stop.
Fittings :
Large bells ring. Furniture moves on smooth floors, may move on carpeted floors. Substantial damage to fragile contents of buildings.
Structures :
Unreinforced stone and brick walls cracked. Low standard buildings cracked with some minor masonry falls. A few instances of damage to buildings of ordinary workmanship. Unbraced parapets, unbraced brick gables, and architectural ornaments fall. Roofing tiles, especially ridge tiles may be dislodged. Many unreinforced domestic chimneys damaged, often falling from roof-line. Water tanks Type I burst. A few instances of damage to brick veneers and plaster or cement-based linings. Unrestrained water cylinders (hot-water cylinders) may move and leak. Some common windows cracked. Suspended ceilings damaged.
Environment :
Water made turbid by stirred up mud. Small slides such as falls of sand and gravel banks, and small rock-falls from steep slopes and cuttings. Instances of settlement of unconsolidated or wet, or weak soils. Some fine cracks appear in sloping ground. A few instances of liquefaction (i.e. small water and sand ejections).
MMI VIII (Severe shaking) ?
People Alarm may approach panic. Steering of motorcars greatly affected. Structures : Low standard buildings heavily damaged, some collapse. ordinary workmanship buildings damaged, some with partial collapse. Reinforced masonry or concrete buildings damaged in some cases. A few instances of damage to buildings and bridges designed and built to resist earthquakes. Monuments and pre-1976 elevated tanks and factory stacks twisted or brought down. Some pre-1965 infill masonry panels damaged. A few post-1980 brick veneers damaged. Decayed timber piles of houses damaged. Houses not secured to foundations may move. Most unreinforced domestic chimneys damaged, some below roof-line, many brought down. Environment : Cracks appear on steep slopes and in wet ground. Small to moderate slides in roadside cuttings and unsupported excavations. Small water and sand ejections and localized lateral spreading adjacent to streams, canals, lakes, etc.
MMI IX (Violent shaking) ?
Structures Many low standard buildings destroyed. Ordinary workmanship buildings heavily damaged, some collapse. Reinforced masonry or concrete buildings damaged, some with partial collapse. Buildings and bridges designed and built to resist earthquakes damaged in some cases, some with flexible frames seriously damaged. Damage or permanent distortion to some buildings and bridges, designed and built to normal use standards. Houses not secured to foundations shifted off. Brick veneers fall and expose frames. Environment : Cracking of ground conspicuous. Landsliding general on steep slopes. Liquefaction effects intensified and more widespread, with large lateral spreading and flow sliding adjacent to streams, canals, lakes, etc.
Write your experience below + let us know if your property has been damaged (even slight damage) or if you have knowledge of any damage caused by this earthquake. (max. 500 characters)

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