In early August, two strong earthquakes struck different parts of China, causing many casualties as well as a widespread amount of damage.
The first quake hit the popular tourist site of Jiuzhaigou in Sichuan province and less than 24 hours later, another quake rattled a remote area in Xinjiang with tremors being felt as far as the provincial capital, Urumqi. Both quakes measured at 6.5 and 6.0 on the Richter scale respectively. The quake in Sichuan was thought to have caused more damage as it had a shallow depth of just 20km (12 miles) with its epicentre near a populated area.
China is no stranger to strong earthquakes with hundreds of them (strong or weak) recorded on a yearly basis. The country has in fact experienced three of the deadliest earthquakes recorded in world history.
China earthquake history since 1970
A major earthquake with a 7.5 magnitude hit Tangshan, killing at least 240,000 people.
A magnitude 7.9 earthquake devastated Sichuan province, killing at least 68,000 people while leaving more than 18,000 others missing.
More than 2,698 people lost their lives when a magnitude of 6.9 hit Yushu county in Qinghai, killing at least 2,698 people.
As for the most recent incident in Jiuzhaigou, rescue efforts are still progressing with 19 confirmed deaths. However, the toll will likely climb further as emergency personnel reach more quake-hit zones. Being a popular nature park for locals and foreigners alike, many tourists were also affected by the quake in Jiuzhaigou with at least 30,000 people being forced to evacuate from their residences as well as hotels.
As the news of the earthquake became available, GWS sent out a red SMS alert to all Safeture users in the affected region and advised them to take necessary measures amid the chaotic situation. To effectively reach them, an SMS alert was sent out in the initial stage as most telecommunication infrastructures including those for mobile internet were likely to be damaged or heavily congested with mobile users scrambling for assistance.
Three further updates were subsequently sent to warn users about the potential for further aftershocks, landslides and other disruptions such as electricity shortage and transportation-related problems. In addition, information about cities that have been designated as evacuation zones, Mianyang and Chengdu, were also included in these updates.