Strong quake in SW China kills 3, injures 290

Updated: 2007-06-03 08:54

Three people have been confirmed dead and at least 290 injured after a strong earthquake with a magnitude of 6.4 on the Richter scale struck southwest China's Yunnan Province on Sunday.

The quake shook the old downtown area of Hani and Yi Autonomous County of Ning'er, in Pu'er City, at 5:34 a.m., with the epicenter at 23 degrees north and 101.1 degrees east, according to the China Earthquake Administration.

The quake also forced the evacuation of 120,000 residents, said a spokesman for the provincial civil affairs department.

The local seismic bureau had recorded 14 aftershocks of at least 2.5 magnitude by 10:50 a.m.. The strongest occurred at 10:49 a.m. with a magnitude of 5.1, centered at 23.02 degrees north and 101.06 degrees east.

Some homes were destroyed and roads are severely damaged. Communications, water and power supplies to the county were also affected.

"Some communication facilities have been resumed and one damaged road has reopened," said Cun Qiang, vice mayor of Pu'er City.

Coal mines in Ning'er and surrounding areas were ordered to suspend operations with all workers evacuated from pits, said Duan Liyuan, head of the provincial work safety bureau.

The government of Pu'er City has allocated one million yuan for emergency relief. The provincial civil affairs department is sending 2,000 tents, 2,000 quilts and 2,000 items of clothes to the stricken area.

The Ministry of Civil Affairs has sent a working group to the area and allotted 5,000 tents from neighboring Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

Ning'er County, covering 3,670 square kilometers, has a population of 190,000.

Pu'er City, originally called "Simao" before it was renamed on April 8, is prone to strong earthquakes. It has experienced 20 above a magnitude of five since 1990.

Pu'er, in the southwest of Yunnan, borders Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar and covers 45,000 square kilometers and has a population of 2.6 million.

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