Quake displaces lakhs in China

BEIJING: More than 400,000 people need to be relocated after an earthquake rocked southwestern China, destroying thousands of homes, state media said today.

Yesterday’s magnitude-6.0 temblor, centered in Yunnan province’s Yao’an county, killed one person and injured 325 others, 24 seriously, the Xinhua News Agency said.

Nine aftershocks have followed the quake, with the latest registering a 5.2-magnitude this evening, Xinhua said. There were no immediate reports of casualties. The quake collapsed 18,000 homes and damaged 75,000 more, Xinhua said.

The report said China’s civil affairs ministry has ordered the immediate delivery of 5,000 tents and other relief materials. The provincial civil affairs department has already allocated 4,000 tents, 3,000 quilts and other relief materials to Yao’an.

More than a 1,000 police and soldiers have been dispatched to the disaster zone, Xinhua said.

Yunnan is a quake-prone, mountainous region that lies on China’s southern border with Thailand and Myanmar. It also borders Sichuan province, where a magnitude-7.9 quake last year left almost 90,000 people dead or missing.

In 1988, a 7.1-magnitude quake in Yunnan near Myanmar killed 930 people. More than 15,000 people died after a magnitude-7.7 earthquake in the province in 1970.