Massive earthquake in China sends people rushing out (Lead)

May 12th, 2008 - 3:44 pm ICT by admin  

Beijing, May 12 (Xinhua) A major earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale jolted Wenchuan County in China’s southwestern Sichuan Province Monday afternoon, the State Seismological Bureau said. A smaller quake jolted Beijing within minutes. The major earthquake took place at 2.28 p.m. Its epicentre was located 31.0 degrees north latitude and 103.4 degrees east longitude, the bureau said.

With a population of 111,800, Wenchuan lies in southeast part of the Tibetan-Qiang Autonomous Prefecture of Aba, 146 km to the northwest of Chengdu, provincial capital of Sichuan.

Wenchuan is home to the Wolong Nature Reserve, China’s leading research and breeding base of the endangered giant pandas.

Another earthquake measuring 3.9 on the Richter scale jolted Tongzhou District in east Beijing at 2.35 p.m. Monday. The quake’s epicentre was located 39.8 north latitude and 116.8 east longitude, according to the State Seismological Bureau.

Tremors were also reported from many other parts of China. Reporters in Chengdu said residential buildings in downtown areas were damaged.

The telecom networks in Chengdu and Chongqing cities were snapped after the quake. People complained they were unable to make telephone calls on the fixed line or in the mobile.

The quake was also felt in Zhengzhou, capital of central Henan Province, where people rushed out of homes and offices and took to the streets.

Many said they felt dizzy and saw the pendant lamps on their ceilings swinging back and forth.

In Lanzhou, capital of the northwest China’s Gansu Province, the quake sent many parked cars by the roadside buzzing.

Xinhua reporters in Yinchuan, capital of Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, said they felt the office building rocking back and forth for about four minutes.

A retiree in Leshan City of Sichuan Province said over the telephone that a wall in her garden collapsed, while a repairman in Chongqing saw the ceiling of his factory collapsed. In Shanghai, people were evacuated from office buildings in Hongqiao and Nanjing Road.

No casualties have been reported so far.

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