Thursday, March 10, 2011

19 dead, 174 injured in China quake

Posted: 10 March 2011 1510 hrs

BEIJING : At least 19 people were killed and 174 others injured in an earthquake that struck a remote area of southwest China near the border with Myanmar on Thursday, a local official said.

The epicentre of the 5.4-magnitude quake, which struck at 12:58 pm (0458 GMT), was located about 225 kilometres (140 miles) west-southwest of Dali in Yunnan province, the US Geological Survey reported.

The quake hit at a depth of 34 kilometres, the USGS said, though Chinese seismologists put the depth at just 10 kilometres.

An official at the local earthquake relief headquarters in Yingjiang county told AFP by telephone that authorities had so far counted 19 dead and 174 injured.

State television had earlier said more than 200 were hurt.

"Many houses" collapsed in the tremor, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported, citing local authorities.

Witnesses told the news agency that parts of a supermarket and hotel had caved in, and that people were buried in the debris.

The quake triggered power outages in Yingjiang county, Xinhua said, adding that three aftershocks had been registered.

Military personnel were en route to the scene, it said.

In Myanmar, official sources said no casualties had been reported yet from the tremor.

A massive earthquake rocked the southwestern Chinese province of Sichuan in May 2008, leaving nearly 87,000 people dead or missing.

- AFP/ac/ms

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