China / Society

Earthquake warning system successful

( Updated: 2012-05-17 20:33

An earthquake pre-warning was broadcast on TV for the first time in China on May 14, about 50 seconds before an earthquake hit Wenchuan, Sichuan province.

A 1.3-magnitude earthquake hit Qingchuan county at noon on May 14. About nine seconds later, a line of Chinese characters appeared on TV screens in Wenchuan, warning that a minor quake had struck in neighboring Qingchuan county, Chengdu Business Daily reported.

The warning was broadcast by the Wenchuan county TV station based on information from the Institute of Care-life, an organization specialized in earthquake studies based in Chengdu, capital of Sichuan, the report said.

"The warning provided about 40 seconds for residents to prepare for the approaching quake," the report cited Wang Tun, director of the institution, as saying.

"If it was a big earthquake, a lot of lives would have been saved during the 40 seconds," Wang said.

On May 12, 2008, an 8.0-magnitude earthquake razed Wenchuan, killing around 70,000 people.

Based on 102 monitor stations scattered in aftershock-prone regions such as Wenchuan, Qingchuan and Maoxian, the institute has sent quake warnings via the radio, TV, computer, cell phones and other terminals.

The system has successfully warned of more than 130 aftershocks in the region.

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