Hundreds hurt, homes destroyed in China quake: reports

A moderate earthquake hit southwestern China, destroying more than 10,000 homes and leaving hundreds of people injured, state media and seismologists said Friday.

The epicentre of the quake was in Guantun, about 200 kilometres (125 miles) from Kunming, the capital of Yunnan province, the official Xinhua news agency said, citing the China Earthquake Networks Centre.

The US Geological Survey revised its initial reading to say that the 5.7 magnitude quake struck at 7:19 pm (1119 GMT) Thursday at a shallow depth of 10 kilometres and was centred 98 kilometres east-northeast of the city of Dali.

Xinhua put the strength of the quake at 6.0 magnitude.

A quake reading on a seismograph showing that a moderate earthquake hit southwestern China.

The quake was followed by eight aftershocks, the agency said.

Initial reports did not indicate any deaths as a result of the quake, but Xinhua said more than 300 people were injured. Thirty people with serious injuries were being treated at the People's Hospital of Yao'an.

Around 30,000 buildings were also damaged, Xinhua said, citing local officials.

The authorities in Yunnan dispatched thousands of tents, quilts and other aid supplies to a nearby relief agency headquarters, the report said, with more than 600 police officers sent to the quake zone.

Medicine and food were also being distributed, it said.

Up to eight smaller aftershocks occurred after the initial quake, Xinhua said, with strong tremors felt in several areas including Chuxiong, Lijiang City, Kunming and Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture.

People gathered outdoors fearing further aftershocks, Xinhua reported.

The quake came a year after nearly 87,000 people were left dead or missing when a massive 8.0 magnitude earthquake shook Sichuan province in China's mountainous southwest in May 2008.

The May 12 earthquake in the southwest Sichuan province left 375,000 injured, over five million homeless and up to 1.5 million people displaced.

The deadliest earthquake to strike China in over 30 years flattened entire cities and towns, while destroying schools, hospitals, homes, buildings and factories in nearly 50,000 villages.

Around 7,000 schools collapsed in that earthquake as neighbouring buildings stood intact, leading to the death of thousands of children and causing huge anger among grieving parents who blamed poorly constructed buildings.

Southwest China is part of the boundary between two of the Earth's tectonic plates, the Indian and Asian plates, whose constant collision has created the Himalayan mountains and Tibetan plateau.

Source AFP

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