Some felt "dizzy," others felt as if their chairs were pulled by "invisible
hands," but an earthquake that jolted a county near the Chinese capital at
midday yesterday seemed not to have wrecked significant damage to people or
"The quake, measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale, caused no injury to either
humans or animals, except leaving cracks on at least 210 houses," said Ma
Yingcai, an official in Wen'an County in North China's Hebei Province, which
villager points at the broken roof of his house after an
earthquake measuring 5.1 degrees on the Richter scale jolted Wen'an
County, north China's Hebei Province at 11:56 a.m. (Beijing Time) Tuesday,
July 4, 2006. [Reuters]|
Immediately following the quake, which struck at 11:56 am, the local
government set up a rescue headquarters, sending assessment staff to villages,
and used TV and loudspeakers to inform the 430,000 residents what had happened,
People whose homes were damaged have been relocated, he added.
Aftershocks were expected to strike the region, but they would probably be
smaller than the midday quake, Huang Jianfa, a division director of the China
Earthquake Administration, told China Daily.
"It is normal for less severe aftershocks to occur within a week following a
major tremor," said Huang.
Huang was among a team sent in by the earthquake agency early yesterday
afternoon to enhance monitoring and assess damage in Wen'an.
At least 17 earthquakes similar to the one in Wen'an occur in China every
year, Huang said.
The impact on the county was far lighter than expected, and it seemed the
earthquake had aroused stronger reactions in Beijing and Tianjin than in Wen'an,
where life was all but unscathed, he later told a news briefing.
A scheduled open-air movie showing went ahead as planned in Wen'an last
night, with several hundred people watching in a square in front of the county
government, with pedestrians and traffic filling the streets as usual.
In Wenxinyang Village, near the county downtown, 360
pupils in a primary school will continue their classes elsewhere today, after
big cracks appeared in their school, leading to it being classified "a dangerous
building," schoolmaster Ma Jinming said.