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10,000 homes destroyed in China quake: state media

by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) July 9, 2009
A moderate earthquake Thursday in southwestern China led to the collapse of more than 10,000 homes, damaged more than 30,000 buildings and injured hundreds, state media and seismologists said.

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

According to the US Geological Survey, the 5.5 magnitude quake struck at 7:19 pm (1119 GMT) at a depth of 54 kilometres and was centred 98 kilometres east-northeast of Dali in Yunnan province.

Initial reports from Xinhua did not indicate any deaths as a result of the quake, but 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.

Up to eight smaller aftershocks occurred after the initial quake, Xinhua said.

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 nation's 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 the 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.

The area where the quake occurred 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.

burs-dwa/ach

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