At least 19 dead, 168 injured injured after quake devastates SW China county

March 10th, 2011 - 3:57 pm ICT by BNO News  

KUNMING, CHINA (BNO NEWS) — A strong earthquake struck the Chinese - Myanmar (Burma) border region on late Thursday morning, seismologists said, killing at least 19 people and injuring nearly 170 others.

The 5.8-magnitude earthquake at 11.28 a.m. local time (0458 GMT) was centered in the Dehong Dai and Jingpo Autonomous Prefecture in China’s Yunnan Province, close to the border with Burma. It struck about 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) deep, making it a shallow earthquake, according to the China Earthquake Networks Center (CENC).

Several minutes after the initial earthquake, CENC said two aftershocks with magnitudes of 4.5 and 4.7 rattled the area. Reports of widespread damage and casualties were coming in, the state-run Xinhua news agency said.

A Xinhua reporter at the scene said the area near the epicenter in Yingjiang County was left without power and reported that local shopping malls and hotels had collapsed. Xinhua also said that “many houses” had collapsed, without giving a specific number.

The government of Dehong Prefecture confirmed in a statement that at least 19 people had been killed as of 4 p.m. local time. It said 168 people had been injured, without giving details about their conditions. Local hospitals were flooded with casualties.

“After the earthquake, at 13.30, the National Disaster Reduction Committee of the Ministry of Civil Affairs launched an emergency relief response at the national levels,” the Ministry of Civil Affairs said in a statement. It said it was sending 2,000 tents, 3,000 quilts, 3,000 overcoats and 500 other pieces of clothing.

The deadly quake comes less than a year after a powerful 7.1-magnitude earthquake rocked northwest China’s Qinghai Province, killing nearly 3,000 people and injuring more than 12,000 others.

Most recently, in October 2010, a light 4.7-magnitude earthquake destroyed a school in Taikang County in the country’s Hennan Province, injuring 12 students. The quake also destroyed dozens of other homes in the region.

And in August 2010, more than 300 homes were damaged and 12 people were injured when a moderate 5.0-magnitude earthquake rattled Sichuan province.

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