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China Climate Crisis Worsens With Devastating Earthquake Amid -40 Degrees Celsius, Shattering 72-Year Record

In the capital, Beijing, the record for sub-zero temperatures has been broken for the first time since 1951.

Edited By : News24 Desk | Updated: Dec 25, 2023 15:38 IST
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After 72 years, temperatures in December in China have dropped to minus 40 degrees Celsius. For the past 300 hours, starting from December 11, the temperature has remained below freezing. This is happening in the northeastern region of China, where a snowy storm is approaching. The storm is caused by the cold air flowing from the Arctic.

In the capital, Beijing, the record for sub-zero temperatures has been broken for the first time since 1951. The northern and northeastern regions of China are grappling with severe cold. This is the first time since 1951 that temperatures have remained below zero for so many hours. Beijing itself has been battling consecutive days of temperatures below minus 10 degrees Celsius for 9 days.

The heating systems providing warmth in the central Chinese province of Henan and the southwestern regions of Beijing have experienced failures. In the city of Jiaozuo, thermal power suppliers have shut down due to increased demand. The heating boilers at Jiaozuo Wangfang Aluminum Manufacturing, responsible for heating, are currently dysfunctional and unable to supply hot water. Efforts are being made to rectify the situation.

The supply of hot water has been halted in government departments and administrative offices in the cities of Puyang and Pingdingshan in Henan province. This step has been taken to ensure that the general public continues to receive this utility. The situation in both of these cities is dire, with severe cold weather prevailing. The Meteorological Department believes that relief for this region in China will come when warm winds flow from the north to the south. This is likely to happen by the end of this week.

The most devastating earthquake in modern Chinese history occurred a week ago, resulting in the death of 149 people and leaving two missing. The quake, measuring 6.2 in magnitude, has caused significant tremors in the provinces of Gansu and Kinghai, where predominantly Hui community resides. More than 200,000 houses have collapsed in Gansu, and there is a potential risk of 15,000 more collapsing. Approximately 145,000 people have been evacuated from Gansu, where 117 people have lost their lives, and 781 are reported injured. In Kinghai, 32 people have died, and two are missing. Authorities attribute the extensive damage to the higher prevalence of soft sedimentary rocks in the region.

Most of the houses are constructed with wood and bricks and were not built to withstand earthquakes, which is why they collapsed. The seismic activity in the region is attributed to the collision of tectonic plates beneath the Kinghai and Tibetan plateaus. This results in earthquakes affecting Tibet, Kinghai, Gansu, Xinjiang, and Sichuan. A decade ago, Sichuan experienced a devastating earthquake with a magnitude of 6.6, leaving more than 6,700 people injured and over 160 fatalities. In 2010, another earthquake with a magnitude of 7.1 claimed the lives of 2,700 people.

First published on: Dec 25, 2023 03:38 PM IST

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