February 13, 2014 – Earthquake Strikes Remote Area of China: A mountainous part of the Xinjiang region in far western China was hit by an intense earthquake on Wednesday, but officials said the area was isolated and thinly populated and there were no initial reports of deaths.
The quake, measured at 6.8 by the United States Geological Survey, struck Yutian County, and shook buildings in the nearest sizable city, Hotan, 155 miles northwest of the epicenter. It was followed by over 140 aftershocks, said the China Earthquakes Network Center, a government service.
Chinese people have raw memories of a 7.9 magnitude earthquake that devastated parts of Sichuan Province in southwest China in 2008, killing 69,000 people and leaving another 18,000 missing. President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Li Keqiang both promptly issued messages urging rapid assessment and rescue efforts for the latest earthquake.
But the isolation of the epicenter, 16,700 feet above sea level, appeared to spare the area any major loss of life. There were no large villages within 31 miles, a Xinjiang seismology bureau official, Zhang Yong, told the China News Service. The county administrative center is 68 miles from the epicenter, and residents there fled from homes and offices when the quake struck, said a Chinese television news report.
Initial reports from the three villages nearest to the epicenter indicated that “there have been no injuries or deaths, and only some homes were cracked,” said Xinhua, the state-run news agency, citing an unidentified county official in Yutian. But officials and the police were still trying to find out if more isolated homes and herders suffered any harm, Xinhua said.
The Master of Disaster