China 6.0 Magnitude Earthquake: 400 000 evacuated

News24 (Link) (July 10, 2009)

An earthquake struck overnight in south-western China, destroying about 18 000 homes, injuring more than 300 people and forcing the evacuation of 400 000, state media reported on Friday.

The quake damaged another 75 000 homes near the epicentre in Yao'an county and four adjoining counties in Yunnan province, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

It affected an area inhabited by 1.26 million people and could be felt in the nearby tourist cities of Lijiang and Dali, and in the provincial capital, Kunming, some 200km from the epicentre.

At least one person died and 325 people were reported injured, including 24 in serious condition, the agency quoted local officials as saying.

A 50-year-old woman died of blood loss in hospital after she was pulled from the debris of a collapsed house, it said.

Most of the collapsed buildings in photographs shown by state media were one-storey, wood-framed mud-brick houses.

The quake struck at a depth of 10km below the ground with an epicentre 2 130km south-west of Beijing.

It was followed by dozens of aftershocks, including one measuring 5.2 of the Richter scale late on Friday afternoon, the China Earthquake Administration (CEA) reported.

The CEA initially measured the quake at a magnitude of 6, but the US Geological Survey recorded it at 5.7.

More than 300 soldiers joined hundreds of police and civilians in the immediate rescue and evacuation operation in the mountainous area, which is about 2 200m above sea level, state television said.

The CEA sent a team of experts to assess the impact of quake.

The Yunnan provincial civil affairs department allocated 20 million yuan in emergency funds and dispatched 4 500 tents, 3 000 quilts and other relief materials to Yao'an, the reports said.