29 injured as 5.9-magnitude earthquake rocks southwest China

PUBLISHED : Friday, 30 May, 2014, 10:26am
UPDATED : Friday, 30 May, 2014, 12:47pm


Twenty-nine people were injured, with five in serious condition, after a 5.9-magnitude earthquake hit southwest China close to the border with Myanmar this morning.

Tremors were strongly felt in Yingjiang county, where residents rushed to open areas when the quake hit at around 9.20am, according to the China Earthquake Networks Centre. It was the secondquake in a week to hit the area.

The US Geological Survey said the shaking would have been "very strong" and that the epicentre was 27 kilometres north of Pingyuan in Yunnan province, and 65 kilometres southeast of Myitkyina, capital of Kachin state in northern Myanmar.

The USGS said the quake was 10 kilometres deep. Shallow earthquakes can often cause greater damage than more powerful deep ones.

Many people posting on Weibo said the  shaking lasted between six and eight seconds.

A picture posted online showed people in the centre of Mang, in Yingjiang  county, standing in the street, with the poster saying they had run out of an  eight-storey building because of the tremors.

USGS graded it as a seven on its "Shakemap" scale, saying that shaking would have been "very strong" and expecting "moderate" damage. State news agency Xinhua put the magnitude at 6.1, citing China's earthquake authorities.

"Tremors were strongly felt in the county seat, where local residents  rushed to open areas," the official Xinhua news agency said.

"Police have been sent to the township of Kachang, which is close to the  epicentre," it added, citing local publicity officials.

More than 50 relief workers have been sent to the region for surveying,  investigation and disaster evaluation, it said.

Southwest China is prone to earthquakes. In May 2008, an 8.0-magnitude quake rocked the neighbouring province of Sichuan, killing tens of thousands and flattening swathes of the province.

In September 2012, 80 people were killed when twin earthquakes struck the mountainous border area of Yunnan and Guizhou.

The two 5.6-magnitude quakes also left some 820 people injured and 201,000 displaced.

A month later 18 children were killed when their school was buried under a landslide triggered by sustained rains in the earthquake-hit area.

A 5.6-magnitude, 24 kilometre-deep earthquake hit the border between Myanmar and China a week ago, geologists said.

In March 2011, Yingjiang county was jolted by a 5.8-magnitude quake,  leaving 26 people dead and more than 300 others injured.

Yingjiang had a population of 305,200 people at the end 2010, according to  official figures, of which 59.7 per cent was from 26 ethnic minority groups  including Dai and Jingpo.