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5.9-magnitude quake jolts SW China

Updated: 2013-08-31 09:44
( Xinhua)

5.9-magnitude quake jolts SW China

Rescuers carry an injured person away from a landslide site after an earthquake in Deqin county, Southwest China's Yunnan province on Aug 31, 2013. [Photo/Xinhua] 

KUNMING - Five people were killed and 24 others injured, including seven tourists, in a 5.9-magnitude quake that jolted southwest China's Yunnan and Sichuan provinces on Saturday morning, local authorities said.

The quake hit the Yunnan-Sichuan border area in the counties of Shangri-La and Deqen in Yunnan Province and Derong County in Sichuan Province at 8:04 a.m., according to the China Earthquake Networks Center.

Some 260 aftershocks have been recorded, with the largest measuring 4.9 on the Richter scale, the center said.

Four people died and 15 others were injured in Deqen County, and the quake has toppled 600 residential units and damaged 55,500 others, forcing some 9,200 local residents to relocate, according to a statement from the Yunnan Provincial Civil Affairs Department.

The injured include nine residents from the Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Garze, which administers Derong County in Sichuan Province.

Quake and aftershock-triggered landslides near highways have affected traffic, trapping three tourist buses. Falling rocks hit another bus, killing the driver and injuring three tourists on board.

Local tourism authorities have shut down some scenic spots in Shangri-La and Deqen to avoid potential risks.

An announcement from the tourism bureau of the Tibetan Autonomous Region of Deqen recommends that tourists and residents in Shangri-La not visit Tiger Leaping Gorge, Meri Snow Mountain and Yunnan Snub-nosed Monkey National Park for the near term.

Scenic spots, including Balagezong Area and Tiger Leaping Gorge, have been temporarily shut down, said the announcement.

The quake also affected telecommunications and electricity supply in Deqen and Derong counties, complicating rescue efforts.

Local authorities have rushed to carry out rescue and disaster relief work.

The Ministry of Civil Affairs and provincial authorities have sent tents, clothes, blankets, folding beds and mattresses to the disaster-hit areas.

Early on Wednesday, a 5.1-magnitude quake hit the same Yunnan-Sichuan border area, affecting more than 52,000 residents in Yunnan.

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