Quake damages 900 houses in Yunnan

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An earthquake jolted Yunnan Province yesterday afternoon, damaging nearly 900 houses and affecting the lives of more than 5,000 people.

The earthquake with a magnitude of 4.8 hit Mojiang Hani Autonomous County at 1:01pm. Its epicenter was 5 kilometers below the earth's surface, according to the China Earthquake Networks Center.

Rescuers carry the relief matierals after an earthquake in Yaoshan Township of Zhaotong City, southwest China's Yunnan Province, Feb. 19, 2013. Eight people were injured in Yunnan's Qiaojia County when a 4.9-magnitude quake jolted a border area near southwest China's Sichuan and Yunnan provinces at 10:46 a.m. Tuesday, local authorities said. The quake has toppled 26 houses and damaged 255 others in Yunnan's Qiaojia county, the county government said. [Xinhua/Yan Keren]

People in Mojiang said they felt the earthquake strongly. One individual said he saw a television set and water dispenser shake on the second floor of his office building when the earthquake occurred. He added that he and his colleagues immediately ran out of the office building.

The county's publicity authorities said the tremor toppled 10 houses and damaged 880 others, affecting 5,016 people.

The earthquake came shortly after a string of tremors hit south and southwest China during the past two days.

A 4.9-magnitude quake, which occurred at 10:46am on Tuesday with an epicenter 6 kilometers below the earth's surface, toppled 72 houses and damaged 949 others in Yunnan's Qiaojia County. Eight people were injured, including two who are in a serious condition.

Neighboring Sichuan Province was also hit by two earthquakes with magnitudes of 4.5 and 4.7 on Tuesday.

In addition, a 4.1-magnitude quake hit south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region early yesterday morning. No casualties were reported.

On Tuesday, a seismic official with the China Earthquake Administration said the central government is planning to build a national earthquake monitoring and warning system in five years.

While the system wouldn't be able to predict earthquakes, it would be able to detect quakes and notify people within seconds before seismic waves hit them, said the official who requested anonymity.

The project includes the establishment of some 5,000 stations across the country and will require an investment of 2 billion yuan (US$320.4 million), according to the official.

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